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For Brighton children's hospital, raising $500K this year is worth $1m

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  February 8, 2011 04:10 PM

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If Franciscan Hospital for Children, struggling in recent years due to state funding cuts, can raise $500,000 by year’s end, a fellow Brighton-based organization will match the figure in a fundraising challenge aimed at aiding the hospital’s day school for children with multiple, complex physical and cognitive disabilities.

The New Balance Foundation named Franciscan Hospital’s Kennedy Day School the beneficiary of the challenge, said a recent press release.

“We are so pleased with the generosity of the New Balance Foundation,” Paul DellaRocco, the hospital’s president and CEO, said in the release. “Make no mistake, the challenge to raise $500,000 will not be easy, as we typically raise about 2 million dollars annually. But I’m optimistic we can leverage New Balance’s support to secure major gifts from our friends and the local corporate and foundation world.”

Several donors have quickly demonstrated support, collectively committing around $150,000 to the challenge, or about a quarter of the way toward's the goal Franciscan hopes to reach by December so that New Balance will add another half million, said the hospital's Chief Development Officer Steven Snyder.

The small hospital has weathered through significant budget cuts from its state funding in recent years.

"We've always been a hospital that's hungry for resources ... The cuts really took their toll, and we don't necessarily expect that to change much given the state's budget outlook, but we're so grateful to be able to have support from donors like New Balance," said Snyder by phone Tuesday.

Around 15,000 children with a range of physical, mental and behavioral difficulties receive care and treatment at the children’s hospital annually, officials said, including 70 children with multiple, complex physical and cognitive disabilities who attend the onsite day school.

The fundraising effort dubbed “The New Balance Challenge” will go toward renovating and expanding the Kennedy Day School along with helping to buy equipment, adaptive technology and augmentative communication devices for the children.

“There are a lot of great causes in Boston, but I truly believe helping children learn and grow and become as independent as possible is top of the list,” DellaRocco added. “And if we can raise $1,000,000 in the next 12 months, we will make a tremendous impact on the lives of hundreds of children.”

The footwear manufacturer headquartered in Brighton and the company’s charitable foundation have donated to Franciscan Hospital previously, including helping fund its state-of-the-art therapeutic pool and the Child Wellness Program, officials said. But the Kennedy Day School Challenge is the organization’s largest commitment to Franciscan to date.

“New Balance greatly appreciates the passionate dedication of the staff and the wonderful heart and character of the Kennedy Day School students,” said Managing Trustee of the New Balance Foundation Anne Davis said in the release. “We believe our lead gift towards the Kennedy Day School renovation will result in a school that can even better serve students and equip teachers, and continue to provide a happy and healthy learning environment.”

In honor of the shoe company’s past and ongoing support, the hospital will be name a wing of the school the “New Balance Foundation Wing at the Kennedy Day School.”

“Whether sponsoring our annual 5K, running toy drives for the holiday season, having employees volunteer at our annual summer carnival, or bringing athletic shoes over for our kids –our great friends at New Balance and The Foundation have always taken a hands on approach to supporting our kids and really understand what we do here,” Snyder said in the release.

For more information on how to make a gift to the New Balance Challenge, contact Steven Snyder at 617-254-3800 or ssnyder@fhfc.org.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

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