MORGANTOWN — The mission of the Mon Health Medical Center Foundation is to provide the “margin of excellence” that keeps Mon Health nationally recognized year after year as one of the best community hospitals in the nation. The foundation raises funds throughout the year to help support various hospital programs.
“Because of our community’s support, we raised over one million dollars this year to give back to our patients and also our physicians and staff,” said Luella Gunter, executive director of Philanthropy at Mon Health Medical Center.
“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s because of the community that Mon Health, as the community’s hospital, is able to provide that margin of excellence.”
Donations to the foundation go to a variety of programs available at Mon Health.
Part of the funds raised went to the Progressing through Postpartum Program, which is a screening program that provides mothers and families with postpartum care for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
“We are here as a resource if someone screens high or there is a concern they could be a postpartum mom or family,” Gunter said. “We can keep track of that, and try to help them.”
Most recently, funds from the foundation helped to open the new geriatric emergency department at Mon Health Center. “Our auxiliary helped to fund that,” Gunter said. “They were the lead gift, with $350,000 for the foundation.”
Money for the Angel Fund and Comfort Fund at Mon Health are also funded by the foundation. Gunter said the Angel Fund helps cancer patients in need with things like fuel costs, transportation, meals and even overnight accommodations at times when they have to stay for multiple days of radiation.
Gunter said the counterpart to the Angel Fund, the Comfort Fund, helps other patients in the hospital outside of those with cancer.
Mon Health Medical Center staff are also supported by the foundation. Gunter said that since the start of COVID, they have started a Colleague Support Fund for any staff member of the hospital who is having an emergency situation or a crisis financially. Each case is reviewed by a committee who decides if they can help and to what amount.
“We have helped with funeral costs, car repairs, food,” Gunter said. “One of the reasons it started is we had an employee living out of their car, and we were able to get them appropriate housing.”
“When you think about what these people give up to be at work every day and take care of our community members who are sick and in the hospital,” she said. “I think that is a wonderful way to try to ease some of the burdens that they have.”
Those who aim for a future in a medical field can also benefit from the work done by the foundation. Each year, the foundation awards about 45 scholarships that anyone who plans on going into a health career-related field can apply for.
“We have a very robust scholarship program. And we love being able to do that,” Gunter said. “You really understand how you can impact someone’s life by helping them get that education.”
According to Gunter, private donations to the foundation are what gives the community hospital the ability to maintain that margin of excellence they strive for. Private donations allow the hospital to do special things — to provide unique programs.
“Our Monarch lung robotic — the first in the region — to be able to go in and have earlier detection of lung cancer and earlier treatment, is saving lives,” Gunter said. “We couldn’t have done that without the support of private donations. So it is the margin of excellence for all that we do.”
Gunter said the foundation really wants to thank the community for their support of all the events they hold during the year.
“Our ball of the year — even though COVID has put that on hold for now — it will be back. We appreciate that support. We appreciate the community’s support of our auxiliary and all the golf tournaments that we have been holding for over 30 years. Just thank you for your support.”