In 1986 Richard and Leslie Morgenthal founded Morgenthal Frederics Opticians, the luxury optical retailing group and design brand based in Manhattan. In 2006, nine locations later and having developed their own celebrated optical collection, Richard and Leslie sold Morgenthal Frederics to a private equity group so that they could move full time to their home on the forested slopes of the Pownal valley.
Both being artists, Richard a painter and Leslie a ceramicist, they craved the culture and academics within a rural setting that this area offered. Just minutes to The Clark Museum, Mass MoCA, and Williams and Bennington Colleges, the creative spirit that abounds in the region is unparalleled and very accessible. This unique blend of values made their move to the Green Mountains a goal and eventually a reality.
Rick and Leslie’s made their first connection to the hospital at the Cancer Center. They attended the dedication of a sculpture made by their friend, fellow artist, and cancer survivor Jan Martin Bopp.
“We met a lot of people that evening, and we could just sense the respect and compassion between the doctors and patients,” Leslie said.
The experience inspired them to learn more. They heard about the hospital’s then three-time designation as a Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence and about the deepening affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
“Health care is a huge issue in this country. In a time when most people find they have to travel further for health care, SVMC is having great success recruiting more doctors to our community.”
When the opportunity to support the new SVMC Pownal Campus arose, they knew it was the right project for them. They could envision the ways that the new office could help the people in Pownal get the care they needed and help the town improve its outlook.
“Our past business success has allowed us to offer support, and we want to be helpful,” Leslie said. “It’s great to be able to give and see the results unfold right in front of you.”
To learn more about the SVHC Foundation and its initiatives, visit the support us page