Grant, donations bring EMHS closer to goal

EMHS CEO Rex Catlin and Cabot’s George Stark hold a check as Williams’ spokesperson Helen Humphreys announces a $100,000 donation to the health care facility.

BY STACI WILSON

Funding for the construction of new health care facility inSusquehannaCountygot a boost Wednesday with the announcement of a $1 million grant for its construction awarded by the Harry and Jeanette Weinburg Foundation, Inc.

Bob Kelly, a Weinburg Foundation trustee, said Endless Mountains Health Systems first approached the foundation four years ago.

“Their vision and dream at last has become a reality,” Kelly said.

Kelly said that the Weinburg Foundation support is limited to the new physician’s clinic, and explained the foundation’s focus of bringing care to older adults and the medically underserved.

“I’d like to say we took the lead on this project but we were, in fact, followers. If it were for Cabot’s support, we wouldn’t have been able to join in and support this,” Kelly said.

The construction of a new $33 million, 25-bed hospital began earlier this year in the Montrose area. But the Endless Mountains Health Systems, a non-profit health care provider, needed an additional $5.6 million to build the clinic portion of the facility.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. jumpstarted the clinic fundraising effort in March with a $1 million donation and began the “Cabot-EMHS Community Challenge.”

Cabot has pledged to match up to $1 million in donations from the community and businesses, netting the clinic building fund a total of $3 million toward its goal.

Because the Weinburg grant was in the works prior to the instituting of the fund drive the donation is not part of the community match.

But another natural gas company did step forward with a donation which is part of the Cabot-EMHS Challenge.

Williams spokesperson Helen Humphreys announced a $100,000 donation from the company in support of the project.

Humphreys spoke of the rising number of patients treated annually by EMHS. “We’ve only seen the need grow,” she said.

“The hospital facility is essential to the growth and development ofSusquehannaCounty. We are thrilled to be a part of it,” Humphreys said.

Stark also announced that the Chocolate & Wine Festival held in Montrose last week raised $10,000 for the EMHS building project.

“As part of the challenge, we will be matching it,” he said.

EMHS CEO Rex Catlin said that based on the fundraising efforts and the Weinburg grant, the EMHS board authorized the start of construction on the clinic portion of the facility and was “confident enough” with the efforts although the project is not yet fully funded.

“This gave the project is second wind,” Catlin said.

In the two months since Cabot issued its community challenge, nearly 70 percent of the $1 million goal has been raised. The community match fund drive continues through July 21.

With the Weinburg grant added to the Cabot-EMHS Community Challenge donations, “a $5.6 million project is almost 80 percent funded that was not funded in January as of the groundbreaking,” Stark said.

“That doesn’t happen by luck. There are fortunate people in the area who have stepped forward to make it happen,” he said.

The Cabot-EMHS Community Match Fund is being administered by the Community Foundation of theEndlessMountains. For more information about the fund, visit www.community-foundation.org.