For more than 30 years there has been a foundation supporting WCA Hospital and the community it serves.
On Tuesday, that foundation opened its doors to its supporters and the public so they could learn more about what the organization does and how it supports WCA Hospital.
The W.C.A. Foundation was formed 30 years ago with an initial benefit of $180,000. Through continuing donations from the community, both large and small, in both funds for specific purposes or unrestricted donations that can go toward any worthy cause, the foundation through prudent and sound financial management ended 2012 with assets of $11,400,000.
Cristie Herbst, W.C.A. Foundation board chairwoman, said some of the money raised by the organization has gone toward educating WCA employees and toward the purchasing of equipment. One vital piece of equipment the foundation has purchased through the years is Starflight. Herbst said according to Joseph Gerace, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department sheriff, Starflight is a self-supporting, life-saving operation now. Herbst said Starflight received its start and early operation money from the W.C.A. Foundation.
”W.C.A Foundation funded (Starflight) for more than 10 years. We’re talking about millions of dollars donated,” she said.
Herbst said the next project for the foundation for the hospital was a pledge of $1 million for the new emergency room.
”What a success story for the community,” Herbst said about all the foundation has done for the hospital.
Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital president and chief executive officer, said along with Starflight and money for the emergency room, the foundation helps assist the hospital with acquiring cutting-edge technology needed in the near future.
”It is great to see this proactive approach,” she said.
Brigetta Overcash, W.C.A. Foundation executive director, said Mary Taylor was elected the first chair of the foundation when she was also the chair of the WCA Hospital board of directors. Overcash said Taylor, who is no longer the chair, has continued serving the foundation for all 30 years.
”She has been a beacon of leadership throughout those years,” Overcash said.
Lyman Buck, W.C.A. Foundation treasurer, reported as of 2013, the organization has more than $12.5 million. He said the foundation is fortunate to receive all of its funding, but the unrestricted gift can help more with the future health care initiatives of WCA Hospital. He said with these types of donations, the money can be used toward the recruitment of physicians and purchasing of new equipment like the da Vinci Surgical System.
”Small or great, all of them (donations) benefit the foundation which benefits the hospital,” he said.