Have you ever thought about what happened to the gifts you have made to your favorite charitable organization? Sure, they use your donation to support their work, but how, specifically?
Sometimes donors give the health system discretion to use their gift in the way that makes the most sense in the moment or in the area of greatest need. This is particularly useful, as some of the most important things we must purchase—like computer programs and information systems technology—are not necessarily the ones that generate the most donor interest.
But others direct their gifts to the particular department or project that they would like most to support. Recently, a donor made a huge impact in heart health testing with a major gift to the Cardiology Department. The funds were used to purchase software that allows imaging technologists to use a CT scanner to see whether patients are at risk for a heart attack. It’s the only test available before patients have symptoms, and now patients can access it right here, thanks to generous donor support.
Perhaps the most visible way the health system uses funds is through the renovation or construction of new practices. In the last few years, the SVMC Northshire Campus in Manchester Center was completely renovated, and SVMC Pownal Campus was built from scratch. This year, it’s Wilmington’s SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus’s turn to get a major overhaul and expansion. These projects, all dependent on donors, expand access to care more conveniently.
Slightly behind the scenes, donations are used to purchase important clinical equipment. From a $5 million linear accelerator for faster and more accurate radiation treatments for cancer patients to small devices used to measure hemoglobin for diabetes patients, donations offset crucial clinical investments and improve our ability to provide top quality care.
Donations are used to introduce new services. For example, in the last few years, SVHC has jumped into the future by offering teleHealth services in several departments, including the Emergency Department, ICU, Cancer Center, and others. This technology allows people to get the care they need from specialists located far away. It allows those with multiple sclerosis or questions about their genetic predisposition to cancer to get the consultations they need without having to travel as far.
Unlike many small hospitals, donors to the SVHC Foundation supports medical research by nurses through the Magnet® Program for Nursing Excellence and orthopedics research through Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s GreenCare Model, which uses data collected from our patients to predict outcomes for similar patients in the future. Similarly, donors choose to support training and educational opportunities for staff members to improve their skills or advance their degrees.
Donors sometimes choose to support the Patient Resource Funds. There is one each for hospital patients and one for cancer patients. These funds are used directly to overcome patients’ barriers to care. Or donors support patient education and health awareness outreach, which makes important information available to communities through events.
Finally, as a part of its commitment to the community and to ensure that our region can attract the best physicians, nurses, and staff to live and work with us, SVHC invests directly in projects that enhance our neighborhoods. This is true of the Putnam Redevelopment Project, which aims to transform downtown Bennington into a vibrant and appealing place to live, work, and spend time.
Regardless of your interest, there are lots of different ways to give. Together, they illustrate our claim that when you support the hospital, you support the entire community.
If you have an interest in supporting the health of both community members and the community itself, the SVHC Foundation staff will work with you to find the best way for you to participate in the important work of the health system.
Carson Thurber is the interim director of the SVHC Foundation. To reach the Foundation and learn more about current projects and ways to give, visit svhealthcare.org/ support-us/ or call 802-447-5017.