Two decades later, gifts to last forever

Jul. 13, 2013 @ 06:00 PM

Two decades ago, establishing a pair of $10,000 endowment gifts weren’t even in the thought process.

Kathy Caudle had plans for raising money. How fast, or how much — that was a little sketchy.

“I know what I had in my head what I wanted to do,” Caudle said. “But I didn’t know how long it would take.

“To be honest, the endowments were not part of the original thoughts. I didn’t know where we would go with it.”

They went far. And Maria Parham Medical Center and Vance-Granville Community College are beneficiaries of more than two decades of dedicated volunteers, donations and creative stewardship.

Caudle recently retired from her hospital post as the director of volunteers, guest services and Lifeline. But before she left, there was a little unfinished business to attend to, and the college and the hospital are beaming with joy that she did.

Caudle’s volunteer services group cashed in their certificates of deposit, enabling two $10,000 gifts and the purchase of a $7,000 statue.

One gift was to the college, establishing the Maria Parham Medical Center Volunteer Services Academic Achievement Award. The other gift went to the N.C. Community Foundation, which established with the college the Volunteers of Maria Parham Medical Center Endowment.

A bronze statue honoring volunteers was unveiled earlier this spring.

“It’s just a joy for them to give us this check for our endowment fund,” said Bob Hubbard, who currently serves as vice chairman of the endowment fund board and has served on the board since its inception in 1982. “I hope it will serve as an inspiration to others.

“It provides a permanent source of revenue.”

In a statement released by the college, Caudle said, “Through the scholarship, we want to honor and remember our dedicated Maria Parham volunteers.”

“They want it to help students with impaired learning,” Hubbard said. “It’s a very nice gesture.”

Hubbard said the endowment has grown to about $6 million, providing more than 7,000 scholarships.

“It’s not as large as we would like, but the costs keep going up,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said many have, and he believes others will, think about honoring loved ones and their memories through the endowment program.

Caudle said the importance of the hospital and the college, and their collaborative efforts, is vital for the community.

According to the college, students pursuing any Health Sciences program of study may be eligible for the award, and preference will be given to students with developmental or learning disabilities.

Caudle explained this past week that fundraising wasn’t welcomed when she first joined the hospital.

“It wasn’t allowed,” Caudle said. “But I knew other hospitals around the state were doing fundraisers. I went to the board of directors and asked permission so we could raise money.”

Several months later, she got an approval. It wasn’t so much old-school solicitation as it was investing.

“By going to N.C. Volunteer Association meetings, I would meet vendors,” Caudle said. “We’d interview them, and then bring them to the hospital.

“As it started, we were getting 10 to 15 percent contributed from total sales from the vendors. We would sell thousands, sometimes $15,000 to $20,000 of shoe and uniforms. We were buying things for the hospital. I realized we could stick that money back and do something special.”

The self-playing baby grand piano near the entrance and a statue outside are eye-catchers, but there’s far more. A golf cart helps transport patients outside, televisions are in all the patient rooms, refrigerators are available for women in the infants area.

And there were the certificates of deposit, the CDs that anchored the recent sizable gifts.

“When it added up,” Caudle said, “we had enough to do our grants, and a statue in front of the hospital, and the endowments.”

And there’s still some left.

Not bad for two decades of leading volunteers with the helpful assistance of Lisa Radford. That’s a lot of visitations, pats on the back, hugs of appreciation, smiles at the reception desk, and management with Denise Smith of Oxford of the Lifeline program covering three counties and 200 families.

“We’ve got about 86 volunteers and 26 chaplains, and a full-time chaplain,” Caudle said.

But no more Caudle. She’ll still be close by, volunteers will still perform their magic, and donations will keep coming.

And something even her vision didn’t quite see more than 20 years ago will continue to help Vance-Granville students for the next 20 years and beyond.


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