When the Bothwell Foundation was created in 2005, its mission was to assist Bothwell Regional Health Center by providing money and resources to keep health care local, state-of-the-art and close to home. In 17 years, more than $4.5 million has been given to the health center by the foundation through fundraising, special events and sound investments. While the mission has not changed, how the foundation will continue supporting the health center is changing.
“We have a really strong board that offers great support to the hospital,” said Jim White, foundation board president. “It’s no surprise that rural hospitals have been struggling over the last several years. Our board agreed we needed to think of new and different ways to increase the support we offer.”
To take the foundation to the next level, the board enlisted the assistance of Hillary Lyons Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in strengthening health care foundations. White said the board developed three goals along with focusing on opportunities to engage more with the communities Bothwell serves.
“Our goals include increasing the amount of support the foundation provides to Bothwell, increasing awareness of the hospital and services that are offered, and creating giving programs that anyone can participate in,” he said.
To reach those goals, six new committees are being formed, and four are already in place and working. Lauren Thiel-Payne, Bothwell Foundation executive director, said the four committees are Community Relations, Special Prospects, Annual Support and Employee Giving.
“We plan to add committees for Business Relations and Planned Gifts,” she said. “With the creation of the new committees, we now have nearly 100 new volunteers supporting the foundation and Bothwell.”
The first committee to launch was the Special Prospects committee, led by Scott and Lindsey Benbrook, of Sedalia. Lindsey is a member of the Bothwell Foundation's Board of Directors and said the first order of work for the committee was to create the MCMXXX’s (1930s) Social Club.
The name is a nod to the year Bothwell hospital opened, and the club includes people financially committed to the hospital’s long-term success in the community. The committee has already hosted two social events this year and has a third planned in February. The events are casual and informal opportunities for guests to learn more about Bothwell and the purpose of the club.
“Scott and I said yes to chairing this committee because we understand how important local access to quality health care is for the overall health of our community,” Lindsey said. “As a nonprofit, independent health center, it is vitally important that the entire community understands the responsibility we all have for Bothwell’s success. By chairing this committee, we look forward to providing a fun way for people to learn about Bothwell and make contributions that will help it continue providing quality health care for everyone it serves.”
Lindsey said one of her and Scott’s favorite things about their committee is that the group gets to decide which projects it wants to support from a list of priorities. Their committee and the Annual Support committee both elected to raise funds for a K9 security dog for the hospital. The project is estimated to cost $52,000 and $9,000 has already been raised.
“Hospital settings can create stress for people and the presence of a dog is proven to de-escalate situations effectively,” Lindsey said. “This is our near-term goal, but the long-term plan is to build a large base of members with the common goal of ensuring the hospital’s viability in our community.”
Because more of the foundation’s work will now be focused on other projects, Thiel-Payne said the foundation will discontinue some special events but continue to offer its signature events, including the Wear Red for Women luncheon and auction and Lub Dub 5K/10K Run/Walk.
“The board agreed there are already so many great events happening in Pettis and Benton counties,” she said. “We are keeping Wear Red and Lub Dub, which are popular events, but we have removed the biennial gala and celebrity bartender events to focus on other important work.”
In 2022, the foundation awarded over $1.2 million to Bothwell for equipment and projects. The most recent project was funding nearly $800,000 for an upgrade to the Oncology department’s CT scanner and purchasing a new CT scanner at the hospital to replace the existing scanner.
White, who’s served on the foundation board for more than 10 years, said the foundation wanted to show its support and commitment to Bothwell with this year’s funding awards.
“In order to maintain a strong community, you need a strong hospital,” he said. “We are fortunate to have Bothwell that has the latest medical equipment and facilities, provides disease prevention and health education, recruits and retains the best medical staff, and is locally managed and community owned. We’re really proud of our health center, and it’s our job to help make sure it’s still here in the future.”
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