Officials from Little Rock-based health care organization Arkansas Children’s Hospital have announced the launch of a public fundraising campaign to help support the new hospital campus in Springdale.
The goal? $70 million.
ACH officials, alongside lead investors and patient families, made the announcement Aug. 5 in front of about 1,600 guests during the ninth annual Color of Hope Gala, an ACH fundraiser, at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.
Proceeds from the campaign, dubbed “Care Close to Home: The Campaign for Arkansas Children’s Northwest,” will go toward construction of ACH’s 37-acre hospital campus, now underway west of Interstate 49 near Arvest Ballpark.
The campaign is being led by the hospital’s fundraising entity, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation.
To date, ACHF has secured $53 million in commitments.
“Care close to home means providing pediatric care to the region’s 200,000 children — emergency care, pediatric surgery, cancer treatments, a robust offering of subspecialty pediatric services, and a direct link to Angel One,” Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, told supporters at the gala. “We are humbled and grateful to our friends and investors who have stepped forward with transformational support to improve children’s health in Northwest Arkansas.”
The 233,613-SF hospital is scheduled to open in January 2018. It will include:
• 24 inpatient beds to care for children requiring overnight stays
• 24-hour pediatric emergency department
• Pediatric surgery unit with five operating rooms
• An outpatient clinic with 30 examination rooms supporting more than 20 subspecialty areas and a general pediatric clinic
• A full range of ancillary and diagnostic services, child life and pastoral care
• Outdoor gardens, nature trails and interactive features designed for children
• A helipad and refueling station supporting Angel One, one of the nation’s leading pediatric intensive care transport services with more than 2,000 transports annually.
The general contractor for the construction project is Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway. FKP Architects of Houston, and Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects of Little Rock are the architectural firms leading the design.
The project is expected to cost $427.7 million in construction, technology, equipment and operating expenses over the next five years and will create 250 new jobs.
ACH is spending $42.2 million in capital resources over the next five years. Operating revenue is estimated to be $232 million, and the city of Springdale has issued up to $85 million in tax-exempt hospital revenue bonds, which are expected to mature in 2040.
A core group of companies, foundations and individuals who are leading the fundraising efforts — known as the Arkansas Children’s Caring Community — were recognized on stage at the gala.
Those gifts acknowledged included:
• The Tyson Family and Tyson Foods Inc. donated $15 million, the largest single gift in the 104-year history Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The gift established the Tyson Family Tower on the hospital’s campus.
• Gary and Robin George and David and Cathy (George) Evans and their families donated $7.5 million of land in Springdale. Robin and Gary George made an additional $1 million gift providing for the Robin George Chapel.
• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walmart Foundation announced a historic gift of $8 million to the project, one of their largest gifts to health care. The company has a longstanding relationship with Arkansas Children’s through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
• J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., longtime partner of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, committed $5 million to the construction.
• Will Golf for Kids and Color of Hope committees pledged $5 million to be given to the project over the next five years through their annual fundraisers. This year’s Color of Hope Gala raised $1.15 million.
“Arkansas Children’s Northwest reflects 10 years of planning and collaboration. Once open, we fully expect that the scope of facilities and programs will evolve and expand,” said Fred Scarborough, president and chief development officer of Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The campus is being designed to meet the needs of children. Our plan is rooted in an evidence-based approach to pediatric care with quality and flexibility as key elements of the design.
“As demand for services in the region increases, we will respond and grow accordingly. This children’s hospital belongs to the region,” Scarborough said.
Additional members of the Caring Community — Terri and Chuck Erwin, Cynthia and Kirk Dupps, Premier Concepts of Bentonville, Karen and Darren Horton, Johnelle Hunt, the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc., the Fadil Bayyari Family and the estate of Mildred and Jarrell Gray — were recognized from the stage for their generosity, leadership and commitment.
Kirk Dupps, a retired Walmart executive and a co-founder of Community First Bank of Harrison, said he and other business leaders are proud to lead the fundraising campaign for the Springdale hospital.
The Dupps’ 3-year-old grandson was diagnosed only a couple of years ago with acute myeloid leukemia and has received care at ACH in Little Rock, the only pediatric medical center in the state and the sixth-largest in the country.
“We understand firsthand why children need a children’s hospital,” Kirk Dupps explained. “Our grandson faced tremendous need when fighting and recovering from cancer. Arkansas Children’s knew how to care for him, and they saved his life. We are so fortunate to live in a community that will benefit even more from such a great organization. Arkansas Children’s Northwest will significantly enhance the quality of life for children, families and businesses alike.”
Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, delivered the keynote remarks at the gala. Highlighting the need for a children’s hospital in the community, he noted, “Let’s work together to bring hope to all of those who need expert pediatric care close to home. If we continue to work together, I believe we can make Arkansas Children’s Northwest something to be proud of for generations to come.”