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Struggling Hospital Depletes $135M Endowment

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2013

Doliner believes most hospital development departments live by the Donor Bill of Rights, a document that was developed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, among others, to protect donors and keep them informed of how their contributions are being spent.

"We all endorse it," she says. "I make my staff read the Donor Bill of Rights once a year as a team, and we discuss it. It sets the standards of conduct related to philanthropy. If someone [were] to make a gift to Maine Medical Center for cardiac research, and we didn't use it for that purpose, then shame on us. That is exactly what we should be using it for."

Although The Wall Street Journal may have gotten it right when it called the LICH scandal a "cautionary tale for wealthy donors," that kind of negative publicity doesn't help Doliner and executives in similar roles at healthcare organizations around the country.

"Any bad news around philanthropy hurts all of us. It really does," she says.

Disgraced LICH is also a cautionary tale for hospitals. Spending down principal donations and flouting donor requests are definite no-nos in the realm of healthcare philanthropy.

"Our number one responsibility is to the people who are giving those resources," Doliner says. "It's our job, and we are responsible for that. … The donor has a right to know how their funds are being invested and being used. That is just good stewardship."

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3 comments on "Struggling Hospital Depletes $135M Endowment"


Steven (7/31/2013 at 5:38 PM)
What they did did was borderline criminal if not outright incompetent. I would wonder what the executives at the hospital are earning as they make these irresponsible decisions.

Steve (7/30/2013 at 5:03 AM)
I will be direct and to the point. LICH, which was owned by Continuum Health Partners, went to court to break the endowment. SUNY Downstate which took over LICH became responsible for repaying the money back and has stated that they will repay this money only when and if they are able. As to LICH losing money neither Continuum or SUNY has opened the books on LICH. All these points are easily searched.

Michelle Alicia (7/29/2013 at 3:01 PM)
Rene you have not researched your fact well; neither have you researched the background information and court cases surrounding this issue; your article is both false and misleading.