We saw that Bozeman Health Foundation and Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center announced that charitable commitments for a new hospital have exceeded $3 million in cash and in-kind support. What is the strategy driving this campaign?
Bozeman Health worked closely with the Big Sky community to open Montana’s first truly new hospital in more than four decades. Big Sky is growing as a community and has an important demographic that values high quality health care. Our ability to raise such support was driven by pent-up demand across a 10-year planning cycle. The community sees the hospital as a major contributor to both quality of life and the economic vitality of the area.
One of the things that helped Bozeman Health Foundation and Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center was an early, very generous challenge grant where the donor matched dollar-for-dollar all contributions in support of bringing high-quality MRI into the medical center. The combination of the challenge grant and that clear need really resonated with the community as they were first getting involved with health care philanthropy.
Can you share another recent project at the foundation that you’re proud of?
In mid-2016, Bozeman Health Foundation began turning to our community for the first time in our history to raise charitable support for our mission-driven programs that serve our community’s vulnerable population. We’ve already raised more than $3 million in support of charity care and community outreach.
Despite our own hesitations or curiosities about whether this would be successful, among that $3 million is the largest gift Bozeman Health has ever received: $2 million. This a real pride point for us. As a health system and foundation, we didn’t know if our turning to the community with this specific story and case would be successful ...and we’ve been overwhelmed with how this field of work has resonated with our donors.
What started that effort?
We have seen over the course of the last decade growing need for that little extra bit of support to help people access the care they need. We anticipate that need will continue to grow, and that really inspired us to continue the initiative. It’s connected to our belief that health care needs to be accessible to all.
You have attended two AHP Leading Forward Executive Summits, and you’re joining us again this year in San Antonio, Texas. How has participating in the summits helped you in your everyday work?
Leading Forward, with its focus on chief development officers and foundation leaders, has provided great presentations by highly knowledgeable practitioners, and these sessions consistently offer insight that can be applied in our day to day work.
In my first Leading Forward conference, there was a fantastic session on the relationship between philanthropy and health system community benefits programs. That session explored how philanthropy can be applied without compromising the health system mandate to invest its own operating resources. That ended up being very timely. We came back with the tools we needed to do it right.
I’ve been in health care philanthropy for only three years, and it’s a complicated field of work. Thanks to Leading Forward, I have a network of a dozen trusted colleagues that I regularly turn to for advice.