Since 1986 the HRRMC Foundation (formerly the Salida Hospital Foundation) has been the fundraising arm of the Salida Hospital District, with a mission of providing financial support to the hospital.
Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center has served Salida and the surrounding area for 134 years.
First established in 1885 as the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Hospital, it became the Salida Hospital in 1962, and in 1989 became its current incarnation as HRRMC.
Support from the HRRMC Foundation is used to purchase equipment, pay for programs and fund two scholarships for those who wish to pursue medical careers.
The largest and most visible fundraising activity of HRRMC Foundation is the annual Jewel Ball, which is held each fall and has sold out the last three years.
The event not only raises money from ticket sales but also features silent and live auction of items and services donated by local individuals and businesses.
Each year has a funding focus. In 2018 the focus was completion of the fitness trail at the HRRMC campus, complete with exercise equipment places at different stops on the path.
This year the focus was on new equipment for the expansion of Buena Vista Health Clinic, which is scheduled to be completed in June.
Other clinics that benefit from the foundation’s efforts will be the Custer County Rural Health Clinic in Westcliffe and the Saguache Clinic.
Salida Hospital District recently entered into an agreement to run the clinic in Westcliffe, and with the addition of Salida Family Medical practice into the HRRMC family, will take on the maintenance of the clinic in Saguache.
Kimla Robinson, foundation director, said 100 percent of fundraising goes directly to the hospital. None goes into salaries, since she and an administrative assistant are employees of the hospital. No other entity receives money raised by the foundation.
“We do our best to supply the needs of the hospital and clinics,” Robinson said.
She said the Jewel Ball receives a lot of community support, not only in number of tickets sold, but also in the donations made for the auctions.
Robinson said she had seen a lot of growth over the years.
When she first came on board eight years ago, the Jewel Ball raised $10,000. This year the ball brought in $73,000 for the hospital.
She said in 2008, when the new hospital was constructed, the cost of the new building was $33 million. The foundation was able to contribute $2.4 million of that.
Robinson said she considers one of the foundation’s biggest accomplishments was the opening of the Center for Breast Health in 2015.
HRRMC was only the third hospital in the state to install the state-of-the-art 3-D mammography system.
Beyond the Jewel Ball, the foundation actively raises funds through cash donations, legacies, planned gifts, annual gifts, life insurance, memorial gifts, real estate and employee giving.
There is even a program in which employees can pay a certain amount to wear dressy denim on Fridays.
The foundation is also an Enterprise Zone entity, which allows donors an additional 25 percent tax credit for $100 or more when reporting via the Colorado long form.
“Not every nonprofit has that status,” Robinson said. The program gives donors an added incentive.
Decisions on what the funds will be used for is made by the Salida Hospital District board of directors.
Board member Jean Moltz serves as a liaison between the two bodies.
Strategic planning accounts for most of the spending, but Robinson said sometimes something else just comes up.
Another event the foundation sponsors is the annual cancer walk. The event used to be affiliated with the American Cancer Society, but now the hospital sponsors its own event and all proceeds remain local.
In addition to providing equipment and programming, the foundation funds two scholarships for the Salida Hospital District.
The first is available to any high school student living in the hospital district who is interested in pursuing a medical career.
The second scholarship, which was rolled out this year, is for emergency medical technicians who are interested in earning a degree as a registered nurse.
Poncha Springs EMT Taylor Hadley was the first recipient of the new scholarship.
For more information about HRRMC Foundation, call 719-530-2218 or visit hrrmc.com/HRRMC-Foundation.aspx.