Issue 9 Stories

Facilitating Community Philanthropy

The Role of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation

Since 2002, the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation has helped connect generous community donors and grateful patients with philanthropic priorities and needs at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital (SMJH). Community support enables SMJH to offer and sustain many enhancements to patient and family care, educational support for nursing and clinical teams, programs such as Palliative Care, and comprehensive women’s healthcare services made possible through the events of The Women’s Committee. 

As a facilitator, the Foundation works at the administrative and departmental levels of the hospital to understand how philanthropy can make a difference in the care and hospital experiences of our patients and their families. Unlike budgeted or operational support, there may not be a clear return on investment or “business case” for philanthropy. Instead, the utilization of philanthropy is often based on the “human case,” or how these resources will support patients or staff. The goal is not to supplant operational support for the essentials of patient care, but to enhance that care beyond the basics. This is not to say that we are not results-oriented, however—in fact, those results are mirrored in the many letters and comments we receive regarding that extra layer of care and support, often noted as a vital part of Sentara Martha Jefferson’s Caring Tradition. 

As a steward, the Foundation is responsible for assuring our donors that their gifts are utilized appropriately and that their gift restrictions are honored. We are responsible for measuring and communicating the impact that these community resources bring to the hospital—for example, the 94 nurses who have graduated with philanthropy-supported scholarships and the 71 more who are enrolled currently. 

As a partner, we promise that 100 percent of each generous gift—large or modest—will go to support the programs, services and initiatives designated by the donor. We also uphold our commitment that 100 percent of charitable gifts will be used locally, at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, serving Central Virginia.

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