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November 16, 2011

Fundraising campaign begins for new children’s hospital

$100M goal includes new building as well as enhancing clinical, research, and education programs

Golisano Children's Hospital architectural rendering

A $100 million campaign to transform Golisano Children’s Hospital facilities, teaching, research, and patient care programs, launched in October, is the largest in the University’s history. The $100 million campaign also represents a large portion of the Medical Center’s overall $650 million campaign. Both are components of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, a $1.2 billion comprehensive campaign announced last month.

“Meliora is not just our University and Campaign motto. ‘Ever Better’ is an ethic that we share as a community, a description of who we are and what we value,” says President Joel Seligman. “The planned transformation of Golisano Children’s Hospital fits our motto perfectly. We need to make pediatric services ever better because it helps our region grow the next generation into healthier, happier, more productive adults.”

“This is an aggressive but attainable fundraising goal. This is an incredibly giving community that understands that a new children’s hospital is critically important, and I thank all those who are contributing both money and effort to this campaign,” says Bradford Berk, Medical Center CEO. “Our inpatient pediatric facilities and programs must be improved to better support the world-class medicine practiced within.”

The campaign announcement at the 24th annual Children’s Hospital Gala is the latest step in the Medical Center’s plan to bring the Finger Lakes region a new children’s hospital. In July, a $20 million gift from hospital namesake B. Thomas Golisano was announced, along with plans for the hospital dedicated solely to children and their families. With Golisano’s gift, about half of the $100 million goal has been raised to date, but with the campaign now in full swing, a groundswell of volunteers, physicians, employees, parents, and former patients have all stepped forward to help.

Golisano Children’s Hospital has recruited three volunteer leaders of the campaign to ensure its success: Mark Siewert, owner of Siewert Equipment Company and current chair of the Golisano Children’s Hospital board; Michael Smith, owner of the Cabot Group and member of the hospital’s board; and Elizabeth “Lissa” McAnarney, former pediatrician-in-chief of the children’s hospital, professor and chair emerita of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical Center.

“The power of philanthropy has helped fuel the extraordinary success of Golisano Children’s Hospital,” Siewert says. However, “we can’t be satisfied with our current success. We need to take the next step. Investments large and small are needed to drive Golisano Children’s Hospital to even greater heights.”

As part of the campaign, the hospital will focus on enhancing care, research, and education for the benefit of current and future patients in seven priority areas: cancer, neonatology, autism, eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, surgery, and supportive care. Funds raised from the campaign will improve these programs by advancing research, education, and family-centered care in the field of autism; recruiting additional experienced pediatric surgeons; developing neonatal programs in lung injury prevention and neurological issues; and giving children with cancer access to early-phase clinical trials.

“Our region needs a hospital that measures up to the highest standards for safety, quality, and family-centeredness to better serve our children and their families. Our region must also make a commitment to improving and sustaining the child- and family-health programs that will develop, teach, support, and provide the very best healthcare practices long into the future. This incredible campaign leadership team will help us do that,” says Nina Schor, the William H. Eilinger chair of Pediatrics at and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “A successful campaign will help us enhance our programs, so we can promise families we will always be on the leading edge caring for their children, whether they have an eating disorder or a congenital heart defect. We must and will be ‘Ever Better.’”

Golisano’s original $14 million gift to name the Children’s Hospital in 2002 helped the Medical Center recruit outstanding faculty and expand programs in cardiac care, general surgery, neuromedicine, and more. But, as a hospital-within-a-hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital has lacked an identity separate from Strong Memorial Hospital and the facilities to match the caliber of its programs.

The new hospital, which will be more than 200,000 square feet, is still in the planning process and will require approval by the state before construction can begin. The new facility will be located on Crittenden Boulevard, adjacent to Strong Memorial Hospital. A groundbreaking is expected in August 2012.

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