The effort to raise $8 million in private funds to help finance a major expansion of Lawrence Memorial Hospital is about to kick into high gear.
"I have all the confidence in the world that we're going to meet this goal, especially as we start getting more members of the community involved," said Kathy Clausing, vice president and chief development officer for LMH.
Thus far, the hospital has raised $5.34 million through its leadership and employee fundraising drives. But now the campaign is entering its community phase, where about 600 volunteers are expected to make calls during the next two months to area residents seeking support.
"I think people will realize that the hospital is certainly an important part of the community," said Karen Heeb, one of several co-chairs leading the community portion of the campaign. "It is oftentimes so important to so many people during their lives.
"And the main thing is that all the improvements they are going to make are patient-centered."
The hospital plans to start this fall a three- to four-year expansion project at 325 Maine that will include a larger emergency department, the conversion of all semiprivate rooms into private rooms, additional maternity rooms, new surgical suites and improvements to the intensive care unit to better serve cardiology patients.
More about the campaign
The total expansion is expected to cost about $40 million. LMH - which is not-for-profit and receives no local tax dollars - will use a portion of its cash reserves and additional debt to fund the majority of the project.
Clausing said the upcoming community phase of the fundraising campaign - which is the first ever for the hospital - should do more than just raise money.
"In the short run we're raising $8 million for this expansion, but in the long run we're developing relationships in the community," Clausing said. "We have gained so many new advocates for the hospital, and that's what is really exciting."
Clausing said she expects the community phase of the campaign to end by August. She hopes to announce an end to the entire capital campaign in the fall after the hospital receives word about several grants it has sought.
Clausing said the hospital was structuring the campaign so individuals could make a pledge and spread the payments over a five-year period.
"What we're telling people is that it doesn't matter whether it is a $25 gift or a $25,000 gift," Clausing said. "It is whatever people want to give."
Several community leaders have signed up to serve as co-chairs for the community portion of the fundraising drive. They include:
¢ Heeb, who is a retired elementary teacher and the mother of Lawrence physician Jon Heeb.
¢ State Rep. Paul Davis and his parents, Ray and Kathy Davis.
¢ Mary Burg, an assistant to Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway.
¢ Jack Wright, a professor in KU's theater and film department.
¢ Sandra Gautt, a vice provost and special education professor at KU.
¢ Jerry Waugh, a former KU basketball player and coach.
¢ Jeff and Susan Sigler, owners of Sigler Pharmacy.
¢ Julie Manning, community volunteer and philanthropist.
¢ State Sen. Roger Pine and his wife, Sue Pine.