Sunday, September 6, 2009

Community generosity

Congratulations to Dr. Tom Welch[1], the faculty, staff, and administration of the new Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital – and to the hospital's donors. The new Children's Hospital is pictured below.

Today’s story in The Post-Standard reports on the generosity of the community in raising funds for the new hospital:

The children's hospital at SUNY Upstate Medical University opening Thursday may be named after its biggest benefactor, businessman B. Thomas Golisano, who donated $6 million. But the new facility is as much a testament to the generosity of more than 8,000 donors, many of whom conducted grassroots fundraising in their neighborhoods, schools and workplaces.

The grassroots donors gave $15 million, the largest community-based capital fundraising haul in Syracuse history.
In a letter to The Post-Standard today, Dr. Welch acknowledges the leadership of Mary Ann Shaw, who chaired the Children’s Hospital fund drive.

I was reminded of the role played by Leonard Markert, Sr. in another hospital fund campaign – it was conducted some fifty years ago, and it built Community Hospital on Onondaga Hill, shown under construction in the photo, above.

Like the Children's Hospital fund campaign, the one that built Community Hospital was broad-based, and it too surpassed the goal.

On June 6, 1958, the Syracuse Herald-Journal[2] reported the Community Hospital Fund exceeded the $6 million goal by nearly $1 million. The paper quoted Carl Maar[3], who commended Mr. Market for campaign leadership, calling him

a man in a hurry whenever there’s a job to be done for the good of his neighbors. Long since, he has earned the admiration and affection of his townsmen. In this enterprise, the most ambitious civic undertaking in the life of the community, he has earned new distinction as a truly great citizen.
Under Mr. Markert’s leadership, that Community Hospital Fund had 15,000 donors and raised $6,963,954, as of June 1958. In today’s dollars, that is the equivalent of $51,892,527![4]

As we salute the Central New York generosity in funding the Children’s Hospital, I recall the past generosity for Community Hospital. Thanks to Mary Ann Shaw and to the 8,000 donors who assisted her, and remember with gratitude Leonard Market, Sr., and the 15,000 donors who assisted him in 1958.


[1] Dr. Welch, a professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, is the medical director at Children's Hospital.

[2] The Syracuse Herald-Journal has since merged with The Post-Standard.

[3] Carl Maar was Community Hospital
’s first board chairman, 1957-1966.

[4] The current value of the Community Hospital's 1958 fund drive was estimated by the consumer price index (CPI) calculator from the Department of Labor.

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