L+M to end capital campaign for cancer center above $30 million goal

A grand opening celebration at Lawrence + Memorial's cancer center in Waterford on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Tim Martin/The Day)
A grand opening celebration at Lawrence + Memorial's cancer center in Waterford on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (Tim Martin/The Day)

New London — A capital campaign that began in 2009 to raise money for Lawrence + Memorial's cancer center in Waterford is coming to a close, with more than $120,000 pledged or donated over the campaign's $30 million goal.

The campaign began, L+M Vice President for Development & Community Relations William A. Stanley said Wednesday, when hospital leadership recognized that the hospital's cancer treatment program had outgrown L+M's main Montauk Avenue campus.

"We needed a much bigger and better space," Stanley said at an announcement event at the hospital.

The hospital — through four board chairmen, two presidents, economic ups and downs and a labor dispute — quietly gathered donations, pledges and bequests over the last eight years, with the goal of raising $30 million in that time. 

Hospital leaders were uncertain they would meet the goal as recently as late 2016, Stanley said, but thanks to some last-minute donations and a higher-than-anticipated bequest, as of Wednesday the total amount of pledged and donated money had reached $30,127,772.

The total reflects a diverse spectrum of donations, L+M board Chairman Michael Rauh said.

"There are huge numbers in there, and there are very small numbers in there," he said.

The most recent capital campaign before the cancer center effort was held in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the goal of raising $7.5 million.

"I think we gotta just stop and take a breath and think about 30 million," Rauh said. "It’s an amazing number, and a tribute to everyone who’s been involved."

The cancer center off I-95 in Waterford opened in October 2013 under a contract between L+M and Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care.

The affiliation with Dana-Farber was scheduled to last until 2018, but in 2015 hospital officials announced that the contract would end in anticipation of L+M's eventual affiliation with the Yale New Haven Health System, which went into effect in 2015.

The cancer center then become a part of Yale New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Center network.

“The Smilow Cancer Center in Waterford is successfully treating people in our region on a daily basis,” said Dan Brannegan, the chairman of the capital campaign.

“It’s a remarkable achievement and it will have long-lasting benefits to our neighbors, our friends and our families,” he added, speaking via video chat from California to a room of hospital staff, board members, volunteers and donors.

The biggest donors were the late Laurence P. “Jim” and Marjory Smith, Waterford residents who bequeathed a total of about $15 million to the hospital in the form of donations, charitable trust distributions and provisions in their estate.

About $7.6 million of their donations went toward the $30 million cancer center campaign, including an early $3 million commitment and about $5 million from their estate in 2015.

With a select group of other hospital donors, the Smiths joined the Lawrence and Memorial Benefactors Society as founding members in 1960. Jim Smith, the founder and president of Smith Insurance, died in 2009. Marjory Smith died in 2014.

Four other seven-figure gifts came from the Lawrence And Memorial Benefactors Society, the estate of Ingeborg Scholz and two anonymous donors.

A total of 416 people, corporations and estates made formal pledges, and thousands more donated.



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