St. Luke fund drive passes $1 million mark

Reaching a major milestone toward its fundraising goal of $1.25 million, St. Luke Hospital surpassed the $1 million mark this month, hospital officials report.

Donations and pledges began in November 2009 and continue to pour in nearly a year later.

The current total for pledges and donations is $1,006,851. The fundraising effort began with a St. Luke employee pledge drive that raised more than $108,000.

The hospital is undergoing a $6.5 million renovation and expansion. Groundbreaking occurred in spring with completion targeted at about a year and a half.

As part of the funding package, the hospital was awarded $250,000 in tax credits in June. Anyone who donates more than $250 after July 1 can receive a 63 to 70 credit applied to their state income taxes.

Currently, the hospital has about $78,000 in tax credits remaining, according to Mike Norris, St. Luke Foundation executive director.

Norris is thankful for the community?s support so far.

?When we began we knew residents would be generous because that is how this county operates,? Norris said. ?But the level of commitment from residents to their hospital has been more than generous. It?s been above and beyond.?

Jeremy Armstrong, St. Luke chief executive officer, echoed those sentiments.

?The generosity of our staff, patients and community has been truly amazing,? he said. ?This milestone is a credit to their dedication and commitment to St. Luke and our project.?

In September 2009 a Cam?paign Steering Committee made up of community volunteers was formed to help with the fundraising campaign.

Judy Reno, who served as chair of that committee, said she has always has been proud of the generosity of this community.

?To me, this million-dollar mark tells everyone the capabilities of Marion, if we set our mind to it,? Reno said. ?What potential this community has.?

All donations are made through St. Luke Hospital Foundation. The foundation?s 501(c)3 status allows for gifts to be tax deductible. All contributions to the foundation go toward the hospital.

While the $1 million mark is a notable achievement, Norris doesn?t see this as the end.

?Our goal is to keep the foundation a viable, continuous entity,? he said.

The foundation, which opened a downtown office early in the capital campaign, is now based in the St. Luke Physician Clinic at 504 S. Roosevelt.

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