BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro Retreat CEO and President Dr. Rob Simpson can see major changes in health care coming, and he wants the Retreat to be ready.
The psychiatric hospital has been successfully treating its patients for 178 years largely by being ahead of the curve and by creating innovative programs, and as state, federal and insurance dollars get tighter and tighter, Simpson said the Retreat is going to have to plan for the future to ensure that those programs survive.
It is with an eye toward the next 178 years, Simpson is announcing the start of the Brattleboro Retreat Endowment Fund, which is the first time in the organization's long history that it has worked to create an endowment to support the work of the hospital.
"The Brattleboro Retreat started with a charitable gift over 175 years ago yet over the course of almost two centuries the hospital has never formally established an endowment fund," Simpson said. "Today we are in a position of strength to take this important step in our philanthropy program and focus on planning for a successful future."
The Retreat is introducing the endowment at a gala event on Sept. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Retreat.
Tickets for the dinner -- where Larry Cassidy, this year's honoree for the Anna Marsh Award, will be recognized -- are $100 with all of the proceeds going toward the endowment.
The Retreat Board of Directors has committed $100,000 toward the endowment
The board hopes to have $200,000 in the endowment by the end of the year.
Retreat Senior Director of Development Konstantin von Krusenstiern said the board knows $200,000 is only a start toward a healthy endowment.
"This is something we are going to have to work on," he said. "It is going to take time and we are thinking toward the future in starting this."
After years of financial instability, the Retreat is enjoying a period of strength and growth and von Krusenstiern also said it was a good time to begin building up the endowment.
Von Krusenstiern said the Retreat is known for running innovative programs such as its K-12 school, recreational and art therapy programs and its newly established, and successful, LGBT and Uniformed Services programs.
Many of these services are now provided without compensation when insurance or personal funds are not available.
Shrinking insurance and Medicare dollars are making it harder to sustain these programs and von Krusenstiern said the board recognizes that it needs to have an endowment in place to make sure the Retreat continues its tradition of innovation as it approaches its third century.
"If we are going to continue providing the type of care that our philosophy demands we going to have to look ahead," von Krusenstiern said. "These are the programs that have made us unique, but they are not a priority for many insurance companies. This is really about thinking about the future."
For more information on the dinner and on the Brattleboro Retreat Endowment Fund, call the development office at 802-258-4318 or go to www.brattlebororetreat.org/lawton_hall_gala.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.