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On June 7th, the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Foundation will celebrate the community’s generosity, spirit and leadership at its bi-annual black-tie gala. PeaceHealth takes great pride in its service and commitment to the people of Whatcom County and beyond, but the not-for-profit doesn’t act alone: doctors, patients, caregivers and the community at large are all a valuable part of the PeaceHealth family. Together they contribute resources to enhance care and support the best in medical technology.

At the request of local physicians, two members of the fledgling order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace traveled west from their home in Atlantic City, NJ in 1890 to establish a hospital in the fishing and lumber town of Fairhaven. Once there, the dedicated (and entrepreneurial) nuns, Sisters Teresa Moran and Stanislaus Tighe, began raising construction funds by selling annual hospital “tickets” for $10 each.

This pride in local health care — care that has developed to be among the region’s best — has not waned. Just as people in those early days purchased tickets to build the first hospital here, the community continues to recognize the value of investing in facilities, equipment, and educational and wellness programs.

Now it’s PeaceHealth Foundation’s turn to recognize and celebrate the community with its gala. The gala celebrates the theme of “care, share, inspire.” Three representatives will receive awards representing the event’s themes of care, share and inspire. Roland Trenouth, MD will receive the Ralph H. Rinne, MD Physician Philanthropy Leader of the Year Award. This award recognizes a physician who demonstrates philanthropy through the donation of time and talent in support of PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. Marion “Robin” Foote will receive the Philanthropist of the Year Award for making a significant contribution in support of PeaceHealth, and Lynnette Jensen will receive the Inspirational Leader of the Year Award for her inspiring leadership on the Foundation board and Healing Through Art Program. Generosity, spirit and community leadership are three broadly held values that St. Joe’s embraces and celebrates. The spirit of philanthropy that built our first hospital continues to thrive in our community today.

PeaceHealth’s role in the community is clear: to serve anyone, regardless of ability to pay; to respond to the community’s needs through innovation and education; to work collaboratively with community physicians in the provision of services; and to maintain the highest level of care. We are fortunate to have an excellent quality of life in Bellingham, which draws excellent clinicians. This allows PeaceHealth to maintain sophisticated and comprehensive services for patients, leading to better patient outcomes.

Health care is changing. The demand for services has never been greater, yet the payments are dwindling. In the past seven years alone, more than 30 percent of all capital expenditures have come from charitable contributions to the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation. In the most recent focused campaign for PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s Cancer Center, the community donated $13 million to the Foundation. In 2012, at the last gala, the Foundation raised $315,000. The goal for this year is to exceed that amount.

The gala is a tented affair on the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center property. In a demonstration of their commitment to community values, the dinner will be a farm-to-table menu of locally sourced ingredients and dishes, including Washington wine and spirits. Several dignitaries and elected officials will be in attendance. But the most important aspect of the gala is the notion that philanthropy is more than just writing a check, it’s about supporting PeaceHealth in a meaningful way. This full circle is what care, share and inspire is all about. As PeaceHealth grows, so, too, does its connection to our community. And so, too, does our connection with PeaceHealth. In the spirit of collaboration, we all work together to affirm our commitment in providing access to excellent health care today, and long into the future.

"PeaceHealth’s role in the community is clear: to serve anyone, regardless of ability to pay; to respond to the community’s needs through innovation and education; to work collaboratively with community physicians in the provision of services; and to maintain the highest level of care. "