AUBURN — The Community Foundation DeKalb County has received a gift of nearly $3 million through combined donations from the DeKalb Health Foundation and Parkview Health, the community foundation announced Tuesday.
With the gifts, the new DeKalb Memorial Hospital Fund has been established.
"This is the most generous gift ever for our community," said Community Foundation Executive Director Tanya Young. "It will be a catalyst for addressing community needs today, but also for investing in future promotion of general health and wellness of the citizens of DeKalb County. We are humbled and incredibly grateful for the trust that DeKalb Health Foundation and Parkview Health have placed in us to ensure that the importance of health will remain a priority for this county."
To ensure the endowed fund's giving capacity and permanence, a percentage of the fund's balance will be distributed annually to support general health and wellness grants. These grants will be considered and determined by the community foundation's grant committee and board of directors.
"Visionary leaders delivered DeKalb Memorial to the citizens of DeKalb County over 50 years ago. Through this gift, today's visionary leaders of Parkview DeKalb Hospital will deliver health and wellness support for our citizens forever," said community foundation board President Matt Bechdol.
"It's an incredible endowment story, and we at the foundation are humbled by the trust placed in us as its stewards," Bechdol added.
In 1960, DeKalb County community leaders recognized the need to build a hospital that could meet the needs of DeKalb County and the surrounding area into the 21st century. Those leaders formed the DeKalb County Community Memorial Hospital Foundation for "the acquisition, construction, establishment and operation of a community memorial hospital for DeKalb County."
The community responded overwhelmingly to the call, oversubscribing the construction cost to build what was then known as DeKalb Memorial Hospital. The community-wide initiative was quickly dubbed the "Miracle of Indiana" to pay tribute to the efforts involved to successfully raise the funds and build a community hospital.
The remaining funds were retained and administered by the DeKalb County Community Memorial Hospital Foundation, later named the DeKalb Health Foundation. Over the years, additional funds were raised and distributed to continue the founding mission helping DeKalb Health meet the healthcare needs of its area citizens.
"DeKalb County has had a long and rich history of charitable support of all kinds, and our hospital is one of those prime examples. This new fund assures that the Miracle of Indiana will continue to improve the health of our communities for generations to come," said Jeff Turner, a DeKalb Health Foundation board member who has served nearly 40 years.
"Both the hospital board and foundation board view this donation as a gift back to the community, who over 50 years ago, raised funds in order to make DeKalb Memorial Hospital Inc. a reality," said Parkview DeKalb Hospital President Tasha Eicher. "We are excited to partner with the Community Foundation DeKalb County to guarantee perpetuity in the promotion of health and wellness in DeKalb County. This endowment provides a mechanism in continuing our journey towards a healthy community."