An event that paid tribute to a Lawrence philanthropist helped push 2003 contributions to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Assn. to nearly $1 million.
The association took in $927,197 in 2003, the most in its 35-year history. The amount represented an increase of more than $400,000 from 2002.
The figures were announced Jan. 27 at the association's annual meeting.
The big increase is due largely to the fund-raising success of the Hearts of Gold Ball, which benefits the association. Almost 1,000 people attended the April 2003 ball, which honored Lawrence philanthropist and developer Bob Billings, who died Feb. 13, 2003.
Proceeds from the ball helped to build a cardiac observation unit at LMH in memory of Billings.
"We were anticipating that we would clear $150,000 from the ball, and we ended up with $440,000," said Kathy Clausing, the association's vice president and chief development officer. "That increase is because people wanted to do something in honor of Bob Billings, and they knew the proceeds from the ball would be used to enhance cardiac services at LMH."
Billings spent 26 years serving on the LMH operating board and association's board, Clausing said.
From last year's contributions, $440,000 will support the Bob Billings Cardiac Observation Unit; $95,000 will be used in the oncology unit; and $19,746 will go to the LMH Oncology Center Resource Library, Breast Cancer Action and for mammography services for women who can't afford them.
Additional contributions will be used for hospital equipment, scholarships, community education programs and building improvements and expansion.
Scot Buxton served as the association's president in 2003. John Nitcher will serve as this year's president.
Attendees at the annual meeting also briefly discussed plans for organizing a new capital campaign to support LMH projects, which have not yet been made public.
"We're in the midst of finalizing the plans for a major facility expansion that will in part require funding by a capital campaign," said Gene Meyer, LMH president and chief executive officer. "The facility expansion will allow us to better serve our community, our physicians and our growth."