Name Game Is Funding Hackley ER

December 22, 2003
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MUSKEGON — Following the legacy and wishes of its founder, Hackley Hospital is reaching out for help to pay for the development of a new $11 million emergency department.

In a gesture of gratitude and in recognition of those who give, the hospital is naming certain areas of the new ER after benefactors. A $15,000 gift gets a donor's name attached to a treatment room. Make a $25,000 donation and your name goes on a critical care room.

In two big-ticket naming opportunities, a $250,000 gift will get your name on a wing of the Hackley Emergency Center, and the donor of a cool $1 million will name the building itself.

The naming opportunities are part of a $2 million capital campaign to defer part of the development costs for the new emergency department and fits with the wishes of the hospital's first benefactor 101 years ago, said Melissa Freye, Hackley Hospital's chief communications officer. Charles Hackley gave $220,000 in the early part of the last century to found Hackley Hospital.

"Charles Hackley felt the hospital's ultimate success would depend on the ongoing community support. He set the entire vision in motion," Freye said.

The naming opportunities for the new ER follow a growing tendency among public institutions engaged in an expansion or large capital campaign to name areas after significant benefactors. The practice allows donors, if they wish, to target their contribution toward a specific aspect of the organization's mission, or in some cases to recognize a family member or lost loved one.

While many donors enjoy taking advantage of the naming opportunities and in the process putting a public face on the lasting legacy that their gift provides, rarely is a contribution directly linked to the public recognition or naming.

Yet some donors still prefer to remain anonymous, Freye said. Others view the naming opportunities as simply a value-added aspect of their philanthropy.

In the ongoing Hackley Hospital capital campaign, many of the donors who have been approached or who have already given a contribution are long-time benefactors of the hospital, Freye said.

"The naming recognition is an extra piece of it. They're so committed to health care," she said. "So many of them have a deep commitment to ensure that health care in the community is first rate."

The capital campaign has netted pledges nearing $1.3 million, said Todd Jacobs, development officer for the Hackley Cornerstone Foundation that's spearheading the drive.

The foundation has received about 150 separate gifts, with 90 percent of them coming from individuals, Jacobs said. Donations range from $20 to $150,000, he said.

Several donors have already taken advantage of the naming opportunities. Of the 13 general treatment rooms, only two remained unnamed as of last week.

Hackley, with patient visits growing by an average of 10.5 percent annually in the last five years, is following an industry trend by developing a new ER to accommodate future volumes, as well as to better segregate emergency and non-emergency cases and more efficiently treat people who go to the hospital for comparatively minor ailments. Occupancy is targeted for the spring of 2004.

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