Foundation bolsters local health care services

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SHERIDAN — Without it, cancer, cardiac, kidney and emergency care would be less comprehensive services offered at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

Without it, the hospital would be smaller and health care in Sheridan would look a lot different.

But with it, Sheridan Memorial Hospital is something the community can be proud of. With the Foundation — and its 1,500 members who financially support its efforts — Sheridan Memorial Hospital continues to expand to meet more health care needs in the Sheridan community.

“I can’t picture the hospital being able to do what it’s done in terms of taking care of the community and putting in the facilities and the services that we have,” hospital CEO Mike McCafferty said. “There’s so many things the community benefits from that we provide only because of the philanthropy we have in this community. We’re very fortunate.”

The Foundation is approaching 40 years of service to the Sheridan community, according to Executive Director Ada Kirven. It was founded in 1976 to bring philanthropy to the hospital and to enable administrators to focus on health care rather than fundraising efforts to expand services.

To date, the Foundation has raised more than $30 million to support programs and capital campaigns for new buildings and new equipment.

Funds have come from donations large and small, from charitable trusts, planned giving, local foundations, hospital employee contributions and yearly fundraising events such as the Link, a walk/run for breast cancer awareness, and the Annual Benefit. This year’s Benefit— the 11th — will be held Saturday and will feature a reception and a performance by local music group, Wren, at the WYO Theater.

The Foundation was a volunteer-run nonprofit for its first 20 years and continues to rely on the time and guidance of dozens of volunteers.

“The success that we feel today is because of the work of those first board members and the first volunteers that we had working on Foundation projects,” Kirven said.

In the mid-90s, the hospital began to look at building a new patient wing and decided it needed help with the capital campaign. The Foundation hired its first director and began to grow membership and fundraising efforts as it partnered with the hospital on attaining goals in the master plan.

“We’re a good fit together,” Kirven said. “We’re making sure that people are confident when they make their choice to stay here and receive their care.”

Kirven sees that confidence in the hospital reflected in Foundation membership, which has increased from 83 members in 1991 to more than 1,500 in 2013. While many may consider such growth exponential, Kirven sees it as gradual, built through intentional, one-on-one relationships with community members interested in supporting something meaningful like health care.

Tom Ringley, county commissioner, served as director of the Foundation from 2000 to 2008. He and Kirven worked together on several projects in that timeframe including a nursing scholarship program at Sheridan College, an employee partner program to get employees invested in supporting the hospital, expansion of the Griffith Memorial Emergency Department, addition of the Watt Dialysis Center and addition of the Welch Cancer Center.

“I’ve always found that if you have a worthwhile project, people understand the importance of it and are willing to step up to the plate to help out,” Ringley said. “The Foundation just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I am positive it will continue to be successful and support Sheridan Memorial Hospital in the best possible way.”

In recent years, the Foundation has focused on improving critical care in Sheridan. The Cardiac Catheterization lab has served more than 50 patients since opening in January, and efforts are underway to expand the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.
“From birth to the end of life, we’re here to support families and loved ones through those difficult times and through those good times,” Kirven said.

By |April 16th, 2013|

About the Author:

Hannah Sheely is the digital content editor at The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.