A Successful Fundraiser of Historic Proportions

Posted 15 April 2015 2:09 PM by TCAuthor3

By Holly Zander, President, Shawano Medical Center Foundation Board

Back in 1931, in the height of the Great Depression, the Shawano Hospital was built and opened. Shawano’s forefathers envisioned that Shawano must have a hospital to make it attractive for businesses and their workers to move here. Our forefathers went business to business, door to door, collecting funds to build the first hospital and when the doors opened in 1931, it was paid for without debt or a bond to be paid for years to come by the citizens of Shawano. That is amazing for its time. The hospital grew as medicine advanced, more and more neighborhood was purchased and expansions made.

In 1985, the Shawano Medical Center Foundation was established to collect money for an endowment to support the needs of the hospital. It was a soft approach to collecting funds. Friends of Hospice began fundraising in the hopes of providing quality end of life care for our residents and perhaps even building a Hospice House someday. This hard working group was constantly fundraising.

Dorothy Erdmann began as CEO of Shawano Medical Center in July 2009. She realized that the competition between Shawano Medical Center and ThedaCare Physicians was detrimental to both groups. Shawano was too small to have two expensive CT scan machines, and two MRIs, and two sets of surgery suites. She—and the hospital board — began speaking to ThedaCare about joining together. In January 2011, Shawano Medical Center and ThedaCare integrated and ThedaCare promised to build a new medical center in Shawano, a gift to our community, and not a tax burden, for many years to come.

Friends of Hospice came under the Shawano Medical Center umbrella in June 2011. With a new medical center on the horizon, members of the community were asked to be on committees to help plan the new medical center in Shawano. What did Shawano want to see in a new facility, what should it look like, and what should it be called? After months of patient experience meetings and months and months of planning, the renderings were unveiled and ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano plans were shown, including a hospice suite for end of life care. This was not just a building chosen out of a catalogue but one specifically designed to fit the needs of our community.

As in any new building, just as in our new homes, there are always some things we wish we could have or would be really great to have if … and that is where the donors to the Living Well Together capital campaign stepped up. The building cost was provided by ThedaCare, and we thank them, but some enhancements would really make this building even better.

The Shawano Medical Center Foundation has always been a quiet fundraiser in the past but the Foundation was asked to raise $2.25 million dollars for the enhancements! A lofty goal.  We all took a deep breath and accepted the challenge for the good of our community. The Living Well Together capital campaign was developed and off and running. Our Foundation director, Linda Gilbert, led the charge with the help of Michael Frohna and Shane Kohl from the ThedaCare Family of Foundations.  They taught us, encouraged us, accompanied us on visits to ask the community, to support this huge project for Shawano.

We asked you to be part of the vision of great healthcare for future generations in Shawano. AND YOU SAID, YES! Because of the generosity and vision of so many donors Shawano, Menominee, and Waupaca Counties, The Living Well Together capital campaign goal of $2.25 million dollars was surpassed. $2,228,291 was raised!!! We believe that to be the largest capital campaign of its kind in Shawano’s history. THANK YOU.