downtown and suburban institutions, but many donors only recognize the system by its component parts. This year, through a new telephone outreach program, foundation officials learned the extent to which the system's name rings unfamiliar.
The overwhelming reaction was, "I don't care about Millard Fillmore Health System. I go to Suburban Hospital," said Janet L. Hedrick, who had been the foundation's executive director until the middle of September. Suburban is one of Millard Fillmore's two acute-care hospitals.
Because of that reaction, the foundation has altered the way it speaks to loyal Suburban donors. It now emphasizes that Suburban is an important part of the Millard Fillmore system, and links its case for philanthropic support to Suburban, not the system. "The donor doesn't want to support this nebulous thing called a health system," Hedrick explained.
Fortunately, cash gifts to the foundation continue to grow. In 1994, annual giving increased 20% to $458,000, and this year Hedrick projects a solid 10% growth rate. The number of donors rose to 1,412 in 1994 from 883 the previous year. Hedrick, who headed the foundation for two years, believes the surge in giving resulted from the foundation's ability to mine previously untapped potential.
"One of the unfortunate things is that hospitals have not always seen donors as shareholders in the institution," Hedrick said. "We need to be out there. We need to be telling people what's going on."
The other unfortunate reality is the lack of time and money hospitals have to devote to fund raising. Hedrick began the year with approval for an eight-member staff, which was later cut to six, including herself. Pending relocations and job changes would have shrunk the staff to three, and during the process of examining those positions Hedrick decided to resign.
"I think basically, as I saw it, things were changing, and I just felt there weren't the resources to do the job," she said. "I'm not sure with all that's happening in healthcare today that an organization can see the long-term investment needed in philanthropy."
Under Hedrick's leadership, Millard Fillmore's foundation sponsored a series of corporate awareness programs for 175 key corporate leaders in the community. This year and last year, foundation board members personally invited those decisionmakers to attend the meetings, at which Millard Fillmore's president spoke about the merger, trends in healthcare and the implications for change.
"People are waking up in bed with formerly competing hospitals, formerly competing foundations, and they're having to figure out how to become a true integrated delivery system," said Orlando Regional's Maynard. "The transition is more difficult for foundations because the volunteer trustees who serve on their boards have "a real vested human interest" in the organization, he said.
What Maynard sees happening in healthcare philanthropy today happened in the Binghamton, N.Y., area 12 years ago. In 1983, he engineered the merger of two foundations-the fund-raising arms of Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City, N.Y., and Binghamton (N.Y.) General Hospital. A year earlier, the two hospitals were part of a three-hospital merger that created United Health Services Hospitals.
Although Wilson Memorial was considered the predominant player in the area, Binghamton General had a stronger board and more assets, Maynard said. Even so, the staff and trustees at Binghamton General felt their hospital was being taken over. The merger promised to benefit the community by reducing overhead, but there were people on both foundation boards who would have preferred remaining separate, he said.
"You can't take three competing hospitals, merge them into a new system and say, `Now we're a system, now we're one.' You have to have the time for the healing and the grieving," Maynard cautioned.
Taking time up front to allay people's concerns is critical, he said. Worried board members were assured that past donors' intentions would be honored and that any new money could be restricted for the purpose intended.
To pull off a merger, a few people "who can rise above their parochial interests in their own hospitals" are needed, Maynard said. One man, a retired Binghamton lawyer who was highly respected by foundation board members and considered objective and cognizant of the human side of the merger, rose to the occasion. He helped secure the agreements needed to move the deal ahead, Maynard said.
"Many times, the development officers are concerned about their turf....their jobs and....issues of protection rather than community benefit," Maynard said. Whether to merge foundations should be based on what's best for the community, yet "a lot of rationales and excuses" are being made, he added.
Changing job descriptions.
Consolidation is squeezing out jobs and forcing a number of development professionals to look for work. "I'm finding more and more people in my profession who are good development officers without work," Maynard said.
To serve integrated delivery systems, today's foundation leaders need "new core competencies," said Advocate's Ummel. With assistance from Philadelphia-based Hay Group, Ummel and co-CEO Richard Risk rewrote the job description for the foundation president before seeking