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District, foundation consider fund-raising for clinic expansion

At the end of last year, the Upper San Juan Health Service District (USJHSD) board of directors unanimously passed a motion to move forward with “Plan 1 Phase A Light,” which is essentially an expansion of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s clinic.

However, in order to accomplish this expansion, a substantial amount of funds, approximately $6 million, would be needed — funds not in the USJHSD’s budget.

Thus, Pagosa Springs Medical Center CEO Brad Cochennet announced at the USJHSD December board meeting, and has attested to since, that the clinic expansion would be funded through grants and donations. Cochennet also said that, in January, Claire Bradshaw would begin work as development director. Her sole function — raising funds.

Three months into this daunting job of being responsible for bringing in the cash, Bradshaw has begun a comprehensive capital campaign. This type of campaign not only raises funds for the construction, but also for fund-raising itself, operational expenses, endowments.

“Everything the organization needs to grow and be healthy,” Bradshaw said during last Wednesday’s Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation’s (MFMF) board meeting.

“The board was told that you would raise $200,000 the first year,” USJHSD and MFMF board member Michelle Visel told Bradshaw.

Bradshaw responded, saying that this was a misunderstanding on administration’s part about the details of fund-raising. Cultivating relationships is the first step, Bradshaw said, and that was the point of a trip Bradshaw and Cochennet made to Texas.

Besides one donation for $10,000, no other money was raised; however, Bradshaw says, that wasn’t the purpose of the trip. The purpose was to cultivate relationships.

The $10,000 donation was designated for a large-scale branding and marketing campaign for the foundation. For all the bells and whistles for the branding and marketing, Bradshaw explained, it would cost between $40,000 to $60,000, however, the money from the one donor would be enough to start the project.

“We need key messaging that inspires giving,” Bradshaw said.

The matter of donations brought up another point at the MFMF board meeting — donor agreements. These are agreements between the larger donor and MFMF detailing how donation monies will be used and, potentially, also giving the donor the right to pull the funds if not satisfied with how their money is being used.

The individuals Bradshaw and Cochennet met with in Texas spend part of their year, from weeks to months, in second homes in the greater Pagosa Springs area. According to Bradshaw, many of the individuals did not know each other, as she expected they might. However, Bradshaw said, the potential donors did seem excited about the prospect to meet each other at Pagosa functions over the summer.

Bradshaw continued, saying it was little things, such as writing the thank you notes by hand, contacting all the donors, following up, asking how someone was doing, maintaining relationships, those things that others may be too busy to do, that was her job now.

Similar to the last campaign to raise money to build the existing clinic, dubbed “The Million Dollar Campaign,” the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation will be spearheading the effort; however, this time around, they will have the help of the full-time development director, Bradshaw.

Currently, the MFMF has $120,000 in funds.

“We need to be proactive,” said president of the board Lisa Scott. An example of this is the foundation’s agreement to give up to $60,000 to pay for an ambulance for PSMC Emergency Services.

“The business of the foundation is to raise money,” Scott said, adding, “If we do so well in this endeavor, then we can pay for Claire (Bradshaw).”

The money of the foundation presently has the designation “unrestricted.”

“It’s not the intent of the foundation in the past, but we as a foundation board can give to the hospital, per grant request,” Scott said. She continued to say that where it might not be the foundation’s intent to fund a budgetary shortfall for the PSMC, if they came to the foundation with a grant request, the foundation could then oblige that request. Lacking a request, Scott said the foundation should be proactive and approach the clinic and hospital with projects they wished to help fund, such as the purchase of the ambulance.

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