Aspen hospital encouraged by philanthropic community | AspenTimes.com

Aspen hospital encouraged by philanthropic community

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Deborah Breen, President & CEO Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation

Last Friday was National Philanthropy Day. I felt it was only fitting to dedicate this week's column to the many people who have already made an investment in the future of Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) through their philanthropy. I have covered many topics in this column highlighting the quality care provided, dispelling myths about infection rates, articulating the many accolades and awards received and discussing the need for new facilities. However, perhaps we have not been as communicative about what significant role philanthropy is playing in our progress or how this newly formed foundation is performing.

It was nearly three years ago that I made my decision to come to Aspen and launch Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation as the singular-mission fundraising arm for AVH. I knew from my first interview that this was a very special hospital in a very special community. From the administrative team, to the board of directors, to the physicians, to each and every staff member I encountered on my first few visits; I knew that this was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something truly extraordinary. I also knew it would be my greatest professional challenge to simultaneously launch both a new foundation and a capital campaign that needed to raise a minimum $60 million.

Today, Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation has raised $36 million in just shy of three years for the capital campaign, plus an additional $2.3 million for other programs, services and routine capital needs. While we know that minimally we need to raise $60 million in order to finish construction, we remain encouraged by all the people who have already stepped forward. Time and time again, I hear a common theme from these donors: they or a loved one was a grateful patient and that is what inspired their giving.

We have a great urgency to raise the additional $24 million by early next spring to bring this capital campaign to a successful conclusion. If we are successful with that accelerated schedule, we will be able to cut almost a year off the construction timeline, and save close to $2 million on construction costs. With just a handful of gifts received — in fact, the top 10 gifts comprise fully $31 million of what we have raised to date — we now turn to the rest of our community. No one ever said this would be easy. However, the promise of bringing new healthcare facilities to our community and enabling a new era in healthcare to be launched is worth all the hard work and worthy of your investment.

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Someone recently said to me, "I could never be a fundraiser." I replied, "I'm not a fundraiser, I am a storyteller." When you believe in the organization that you are standing in front of, and you continue to be impressed and inspired by the project and all the people involved, it is easy to tell that story.