Ellis Medicine is asking for the public’s help with the last leg of a massive $25 million fundraising campaign.
With the help of trustees, medical staff, employees, volunteer aides, businesses, organizations and special events, the Foundation for Ellis Medicine has so far raised $21.5 million. If you’ve never heard of the campaign, you’re not alone. The foundation began the effort in 2009 and, for the most part, kept it quiet.
So far, that money has been used to help build the Medical Center of Clifton Park, an expanded Bellevue Woman’s Center, the permanent home for the Belanger School of Nursing on McClellan Street, and a new Ellis Residential and Rehabilitation Center.
“These investments have been made possible through the tremendous generosity of people like you,” said Ellis Medicine CEO Jim Connolly at a Friday morning breakfast at Golub Corp. headquarters to kick off the last phase. “Without that contribution, we couldn’t do these things, we couldn’t be successful. But, there’s still a lot more that we need to do.”
The campaign, called “Our Health Our Future,” went public Friday with the help of local philanthropists Neil and Jane Golub. Connolly first approached the couple a few years ago about helping him raise $15 million for the hospital.
“That was in 2010,” said Neil Golub. “And then in 2012, the phone rang again.”
Connolly said they wanted to up the ante and raise $25 million instead. The Golubs, longtime supporters of health care in Schenectady County, quickly agreed.
On Friday, Jane Golub announced how much the community has contributed so far. Every single Ellis Medicine trustee contributed over the years, raising a total $1.6 million toward the campaign. The hospital’s medical staff raised $1.4 million. Ellis employees, including the entire security staff, helped raise $960,000. Volunteer aides raised $430,000.
Capital Region businesses and organizations, including M&T Bank, Fenimore Asset Management and Turner Construction, raised a total of $7.3 million toward the campaign. Special events hosted by Ellis, including its annual Women’s Night Out event, raised a total $7.3 million since the campaign began. And early gifts from friends and neighbors helped raise $6.6 million.
To raise the last $3.5 million, Ellis will begin outreach efforts that include letters asking for support from residents of local communities. The final funds will go toward the $61 million expansion of the emergency department at the hospital’s Nott Street campus.
The campaign is the largest health care fundraising effort ever undertaken in the community, said Suzann Smart, executive director of the Foundation for Ellis Medicine. In 1986, the hospital launched a campaign to raise $3.5 million. The Foundation ended up raising $4 million in a few years that was used to build the hospital’s current A wing.
“We’ve done smaller campaigns over the years,” she said. “But this is the biggest effort since then.”
The first members of the public to contribute to the final leg of the campaign were Robert and Theo. The brothers, 3 years old and 1 year old respectively, marched up to the podium Friday morning to hand Jane Golub their piggy banks that they’ve both had since birth.
“It’s heavy,” warned Robert, as he handed it off.
Their mother, Marion Horan of Saratoga Springs, recently sat down with them to discuss the importance of giving back to the community, she said. Robert wanted to do his part, she said Friday, watching him play on the floor of the Golub headquarters conference room.
“And Theo — well — his thing these days is ‘me too! me too!’ so he volunteered to donate as well,” she laughed.