Healthcare’s Use of Separate Foundations

A guest blog post by Walter Dillingham, CFA

My longtime colleague, Walter Dillingham, of Wilmington Trust, N.A., specializes in serving endowments, foundations, and healthcare organizations. Walter works closely with nonprofits to help them achieve both their investment and philanthropic objectives. Walter has authored original research on Healthcare’s use of separate foundations that I thought you’d like to read.

This research report provides insights into how hospitals in New York State are starting to address these questions related to their foundations. Our intent is to provide findings and conclusions that may be applicable to hospitals and hospital systems nationwide.

The research puts a spotlight on hospital foundations in New York State. It starts the analysis by reviewing the complete universe of hospitals in New York, which was provided by the American Hospital Association. Public hospitals, VA hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, large university hospitals, and hospitals with annual revenues less than $25 million were excluded. From this overall list, the hospital’s IRS Form 990s were reviewed, plus their websites, and in some cases, the hospitals were contacted to get updates on their foundation strategies. 160 hospitals in New York were researched, which includes a total asset ranking of all the hospital foundations and specific observations and research on each foundation.

As part of the research on these 160 New York hospitals, the study found that 81% of the hospitals have access to a hospital foundation, with 62% using a local foundation and 19% using a parent foundation. Further, they found that approximately 20% of the hospitals did not use a foundation for their fundraising. Almost 80% of these foundations have come into existence since 1981 and are a key fundraising tool for many hospitals. Based on the most recent data provided, we estimate that there is over $5.8 billion in total foundation assets, with the average foundation’s total assets at $52.8 million and the average local foundation’s total assets  at $13.3 million. We looked at both parent foundations and local foundations. The largest parent foundation is New York Presbyterian Fund Inc. (New York Presbyterian, NYC), which has total assets of $2.4 billion. The largest local hospital foundation is St. Francis Hospital Foundation (St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn) at $153 million, which is part of Catholic Health of Long Island; each hospital in that system has its own local foundation. Along with the overview information on the New York hospital foundation sector, the study provides observations related to their fundraising strategies and investment management. Also highlighted are hospital foundation best practices at the end of the study.

Your thoughts about the results of the study are welcomed on the LAPA Fundraising blog.

Walter has nearly three decades of financial services industry experience. He holds an MS in Philanthropy from New York University, an MBA from Babson College, and a BA in Economics from Bates College. His contact information is noted on the study.

Please be in touch if we may be of service with your private foundation and/or government applications.

Laurence A. Pagnoni


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