The Medical Center Foundation Announces More than $15 Million Raised During Healthy Journey Campaign

Published: Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This week, Jim Moore, chairman of The Medical Center Foundation publicly announced the successful completion of the most recent phase of the Healthy Journey campaign, which surpassed the original goal of $9 million by raising more than $15 million to benefit 30 health related initiatives ranging from heart to cancer to children.

When The Medical Center Foundation launched the third phase of its Healthy Journey campaign in 2008, campaign leadership could not foresee the detours and challenges it would face with a stagnant economy and the loss of beloved chairman, Woody Stewart, who passed away in January 2012.

“We have made great progress to improve the health of the people of Northeast Georgia,” comments Nancy Colston, president and chief development officer of The Medical Center Foundation. “The journey of creating a healthier community is a marathon, not a sprint. Our campaign volunteers never lost sight of our mission and how the dollars raised would make a real difference in the health of our community. This success speaks to the tenacity of our board leadership, our dedicated campaign volunteers and our generous family of donors.”

Some of the 30 projects receiving funding from the recent Healthy Journey campaign include:  renovation of Radiation Oncology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC); expansion of the Ronnie Green Heart Center at NGMC; renovations of New Horizons North; the Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System; Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County; Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center; Nursing and Allied Health Scholarships and Continuing Education; Indigent Patient Fund and the SANE program.  Signature gifts have made many projects at NGMC possible including:  Nell’s Prayer Garden, Wilheit-Keys Peace Garden, Pope Family Garden, Nathan-Schrage Art Gallery, Richard and Phyllis Leet’s gift of art to Women and Children’s Services, The Auxiliary Love Light Garden, The Auxiliary Conference Room, the Swoszowski Scholarship Fund and the future Woody Stewart Heart Failure Treatment Unit.

“When I think about where Northeast Georgia Health System would be without The Medical Center Foundation, I cannot help but think of the words of my long-time friend and mentor Woody Stewart, chairman of The Medical Center Foundation Board from 1999 until his death in 2012,” reflects Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Heath System.  Woody said, “˜Philanthropy is the difference between a good hospital and a great hospital.’  The vision of Woody; founding chair, the late Nell Wiegand; and many other Foundation volunteer leaders has helped us become a strong, vibrant health system with national and statewide recognition.  We simply would not be where we are as a health system today without the hard work and determination of our many campaign volunteers and the generosity of our community – who have made contributions of more than $43 million since the first Healthy Journey campaign in 1999.  In order to equal the impact of these donations, NGHS would have to increase its net operating revenue by more than $1 billion.”

The Healthy Journey campaign directly benefited 10 health-related initiatives outside the walls of the Northeast Georgia Health System.  One-and-a-half million dollars were raised through the annual Medical Center Open Golf Tournament during the recent Healthy Journey campaign to benefit health-related non-profits in Northeast Georgia:  Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Gateway Domestic Violence Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County, Hall County Fire Services AED program, Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System, My Sister’s Place and Northeast Georgia Speech Center.

Kay Blackstock, executive director of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, comments, “The funding we received from the Medical Center Open provided critically needed refrigeration and freezer storage. This had a huge impact on our capacity to meet the nutritional needs of families in our community who would otherwise go hungry.”

NGHS employees set a tremendous example by leading the way and donating $2.2 million for Healthy Journey including donations to benefit American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and the American Heart Association through the employee giving club, W.A.T.C.H. (We Are Targeting Community Healthcare).

“While we pause to celebrate the completion of this campaign, we know the needs always exceed the resources. We are committed to continue our journey to improve the health of our community,” stresses Moore.  “The Medical Center Foundation Board of Trustees will work to identify projects that closely align with Northeast Georgia Hospital System’s strategic plan and look at community health needs identified by the recent Community Health Needs Assessment to help guide the project selection process. Stay tuned.”