Nonprofits provide many needed extras to hospitals

By Wayne Bryan Published August 24, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Saline Memorial Foundation Director Matt Brumley stands in the main entrance of Saline Memorial Hospital. The foundation is paying for the remodeling of the facility’s entryway.

On Sept. 11, the first foursome of golfers will tee up at the first hole of the course at the Hurricane Golf and Country Club in Benton.

While it’s fun and games for the golfers, it is the beginning of a very serious two days for the Saline Memorial Health Foundation, the nonprofit organization that funds new technologies for Saline Memorial Hospital and enhances the hospital’s services to the community.

“The foundation raises funds from the community and seeks out grants to support Saline Memorial’s mission to provide quality health care for the patients and advancing medical care,” Matt Brumley, foundation director, said in an earlier interview. “The Swing Fore Saline golf tournament is a major fundraiser for the foundation. It raised around $80,000 last year.”

Foundations, which are a mainstay for medical facilities in the region, have been described as organizations that buy things for hospitals that usually are not part of their annual budgets. For some hospitals, new technology purchases would wipe out their annual budgets.

The foundation for CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs, formerly Mercy Hospital, is in transition between the two organizations that have owned the hospital in the past year.

“The foundation is now being operated by St. Vincent,” hospital spokesman Jeff Slatton said, “but what the foundation will be doing has not been fully developed. There will be a survey among the co-workers at the hospital about what types of projects the foundation will be undertaking.”

In the past, the foundation for the Hot Springs hospital provided money for needed equipment, Slatton said.

“The mammography bus was funded by the foundation, and the da Vinci surgical robots would not have been possible without the help of the foundation,” he said. “The survey and other factors will help form what is done in the future.”

In Benton, the foundation for Saline Memorial is involved in the biggest projects. For several years, funds raised by the foundation have gone to renovate patient rooms. Brumley said the renovated rooms feature warm woods, as well as rocking chairs and other furniture that is more like a home bedroom than a hospital.

The renovated patient rooms help the patients feel better about the hospital and the care they receive, Brumley said.

“The more positive impression the patient can get, the more they will feel they are receiving the best care, which is what we are trying to do,” he said.

This year the attention is focused on Saline Memorial’s lobby.

“The front lobby is completely dismantled right now as it is [being] remodeled,” Brumley said. “About 14,000 people go through the lobby every week. Everybody who goes in the front doors sees the lobby, and it has a big impact on people.”

Along with the golf tournament, the Saline Memorial Health Foundation holds The Beat Goes On 5K race in February.

The foundation also partners with the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce to hold the annual Glitz and Garland shopping event at the Benton Event Center. Brumley said the 2013 event raised $26,000 for the foundation. The annual event has always included a raffle for an automobile, with only 500 tickets sold at $100 each.

Along with purchases for the hospital, the foundation also assists people in need, Brumley said.

“Patients who are not able to afford their medication, or one of our 1,026 co-workers who has suffered a big loss, like the death of a spouse or a major illness, are helped by the foundation,” he said. We try to be a bridge for them in a time of hardships.”

Two other hospitals in the region are affiliated with Baptist Health. The first is Baptist Health Medical Center in Arkadelphia. In 1981, Baptist assumed operation of Clark County Memorial Hospital. The hospital is part of the Baptist Health Foundation that serves almost all of the company’s medical facilities, said Missy Lewis, chief development officer for the foundation, which is headquartered in Little Rock.

The foundation issues grant awards of $750,000 a year, and all the hospitals, including the one in Arkadelphia, get something from that fund,” Lewis said. “Most recently, we have bought new TVs for patient rooms and other things for the patients from the grants.”

Baptist’s newest hospital, Baptist Health Medical Center-Hot Spring County in Malvern, still has its own foundation because the Malvern hospital had a foundation as Hot Spring County Medical Center until the beginning of 2014.

“Those funds are separate, and the fundraising will be separate from our foundation,” Lewis said. Their foundation has a very successful event, the Toast and Roast, which is held each year. “We want them to be successful, and they will have our support, but their foundation will not be funded by the Baptist Health Foundation.”

Meanwhile, Lewis said, the hospital in Malvern will also receive funds from the Baptist Health Foundation’s grant program.

“The hospital just received a grant award of $10,000 worth of new equipment,” she said.

The hospital foundations give the residents of the local communities an opportunity to become invested in their local health care facilities.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or at

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or

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