Mercy Hospital to launch $40 million capital campaign amid other efforts seeking big donations

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 453 views 

Mercy Hospital’s $247 million expansion across Northwest Arkansas will require $40 million in help from the local community according to Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest. He said Mercy has pledged a little more than $200 million but they expect to raise about $40 million with a capital campaign.

Sister Anita DeSalvo said during the Wednesday (April 27) announcement that the community has participated in this planning process over the past two years and she challenged the community to join the Mercy mission to help provide for the health and well being of the the local community.

Wayne Callahan, chairman of the local Mercy Hospital Board, said the expansion is a big step forward and it will take public and private support to realize full potential.

“We’re confident that this plan will be worth all of our collected efforts,” Callahan said during the event.

Hospital officials thanked previous donors who helped to construct the relatively new Rogers Mercy Hospital which opened in 2008. The land on which the hospital sits was donated by Evelyn Rife with generous gifts from J.B. and Johnelle Hunt, whom the campus is named after. He said major gifts were also made by Pauline Whitaker, Jack and Melba Shewmaker, Don and June Soderquist, Lee and Linda Scott with many others contributing as well.

Dr. Steve Goss, president of Mercy Clinic, said when the hospital opened in 2008 it employed 90 doctors. The hospital now employs 200 doctors, and with the no room to meet growing needs the hospital had to do something. He said the massive investment from Mercy is a huge step but it will be the community that helps pull it all it together.

No one doubts Mercy will raise the needed capital once the campaign is officially launched, but there is much competition in Northwest Arkansas for donations.

Little Rock-based Arkansas Children’s Hospital aims to raise about $75 million from private donations with hopes of getting $85 million in funding from bonds to help build the planned hospital in Springdale.

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will vote next month whether to expand Reynolds Razorback Stadium with a $160 million investment of which roughly $40 million would need to be raised from private donations.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College was expected to announce a capital campaign for its planned Washington County facility, but has yet to do so. The college is reportedly short $880,000 this fiscal year to stay within its budget.

The announced, planned and possible capital campaigns come on the heels of several others that wrapped up in 2015. The Walton Arts Center completed a $23 million capital campaign, and The Scott Family Amazeum raised $28.5 million between 2013 and early 2015 from private donors. The Jones Center also announced the completion of its 3-year $30 million capital campaign from private donors, primarily the Walton Family Foundation and the Endeavor Foundation. The University of Arkansas raised $116.5 million in private gift support in fiscal year 2015, surpassing the $100 million mark for the fifth consecutive year and marking the fourth-best year in the university’s fundraising history.