As we enter the home stretch of our Design for Healing campaign, I cannot help but reflect on what an amazing journey this has been. By no means is a seven-year capital campaign a sprint—rather, it is a marathon. From the outset of the new hospital project, philanthropy needed to play a significant role in our financing model. The earliest estimate, made by a national fundraising consulting firm, recommended a $50,000,000 campaign. However, both the Foundation Board of Directors and the System Board of Trustees dreamed bigger.
When I was hired in November 2006, the goal was set at $100,000,000. The money raised by philanthropy would greatly reduce the amount of debt we would take on, having a tremendous impact on the future growth of Princeton HealthCare System. In June 2008, our public launch for the campaign, we announced a new goal—$115,000,000. We had been encouraged to reach higher, thanks to the generosity of David and Pat Atkinson, George and Estelle Sands, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb—all had made substantial pledges even before a final site was selected and design completed.
We broke ground in September 2008. Like a marathoner, however, we did have our hills and valleys to contend with; the financial crisis was a major hill to climb, even though we were more than halfway to our goal. As the stock market declined, the financial holdings of the Foundation took a dramatic hit, as did many of our donors’ personal investments. But, we pressed on and laid the final steel beam in December 2009.
By early 2010, new life and new energy was breathed into the campaign by a second eight-figure gift from an anonymous donor. And thanks to incredible leadership by our Boards, a dedicated Foundation staff, and the inspiring vision of our Chief Executive Officer, Barry Rabner, we continued to move forward. In January 2011, we announced a new public goal, but behind the scenes, the Board aimed even higher. Throughout the past two years we have been working toward a goal of $165,000,000. By far, this is the most ambitious fundraising effort of any hospital in the State of New Jersey; by some accounts, this is the most ambitious campaign by any single hospital of our size in the nation.
But now, with the finish line in sight, and the new hospital open and operational, we see that this has been not just any marathon—it is one that will shape and define this community for decades to come. Over 10,000 individual donors, corporations, and foundations have helped us with their gifts. Many gifts, $100, $500, $1,000 or more, were made by members of our community who have given to our hospital for the first time, demonstrating new interest and commitment.
With little more than four months left in the campaign, please help us to stay the course and complete this journey. If you have not already done so, please call our office today to make your contribution to our new hospital that can now match the talent of those who work inside it, providing outstanding care for all of us. Together, we will have strengthened our community with a lasting legacy for the next 100 years. Together, we will cross the finish line of this historic campaign—setting a new record for healthcare fundraising. Together, we have built the future. Thank you for your support for the benefit of our community.
Joseph E. Stampe
Vice President of Development
Article as seen in Foundation News Winter 2012.