Investing in a Healthy South Coast
The who’s who of local non-profits and social service groups gathered at the Coos History Museum in early May for a special luncheon, and they who normally do all the giving were on the receiving end. These men and women represented the recipients of the 2017 Bay Area Hospital Community Foundation grants.
The foundation awarded 33 grants at the luncheon on May 11. The afternoon of philanthropy is an annual event, but this one broke records. Bay Area Hospital Community Foundation handed out $467,728, a number that far exceeds grant totals from previous years. This year’s record sum comes as the hospital is making its first of four $250,000 donations to the future Southwestern Oregon Community College Health and Science Technology building.
Last spring, the hospital pledged to donate a total of $1 million toward the new building and challenged the greater medical community to make the same investment in the future of local health care. Doctors of Oregon Coast South, a group made up of local physicians, stepped up to the plate and pledged an additional million. Patty Scott, the president of Southwestern Oregon Community College, says with the support of the hospital and the physician community, SOCC is within $500,000 of their $8 million goal.
“We’re moving forward,” Scott said at the luncheon. “We’re confident that we’ll get the remaining amount of money, so we’ve hired the architect and we’re in the process of designing the building.”
The community college has offered nursing education since 1962, but the new facility will make a career in healthcare more attainable for students in our community. The Health and Science Technology building will replace outdated training spaces, introduce new technology into the classroom, and allow SOCC to accept more applicants into their nursing and allied health programs.
“So, we’re very grateful to Bay Area Hospital and to the community,” Scott said. The college expects to break ground in the early part of 2018.
While Southwestern Oregon Community College received the largest sum, each of 2017 grantees are doing impressive, innovative work to promote healthy living on the South Coast. The recipients ranged from the Ready to Smile Program, which offers thousands of children free dental care, to the Healing Sounds Project, which brings volunteer musicians into hospital rooms to soothe patients with calming melodies.
“Our vision is that we improve the health of our community, but we need our partners,” Bay Area Hospital Foundation Chair, Dr. Tom McAndrew said at the luncheon. “We can take care of acute care hospitalization, but all those issues from dental care, to mental health, to all the social support… programs that are represented in this room are equally important.”
Over the past nine years, Bay Area Hospital Community Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to organizations working in innovative, collaborative ways to foster better health and quality of life for residents of Oregon’s South Coast. March 1, 2018 is the application deadline for next year’s grant awards. Anyone interested in learning more about the foundation or donors wishing to make a contribution can call Barbara Bauder at (541) 269-8543.