Hospital foundation recruits board to re-energize fund-raising


The Bridgeport Hospital Foundation recently named its own Board of Trustees. Members include, from left, (seated) Carla Klein and Patricia McDermott, (standing) Vice Chair Dr. Mitchell Driesman, Hospital President and CEO Bill Jennings, foundation president Steve Jakab, Chairman Ron DeFeo, Dr. Robert Stanton and Patrick Shaw.

After 25 years as Bridgeport Hospital’s fund-raising arm, the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation has reinvigorated itself by forming an independent board of trustees, its first since 1995.

Westport resident Ron DeFeo, chairman and chief executive officer of Westport-based Terex Corp., is the new board’s chairman. Fellow Westport resident Dr. Mitchell Driesman Fairfield-based Cardiac Specialists is vice chair. Driesman is a pioneering interventional cardiologist who performed some of the Fairfield County’s earliest balloon angioplasties and coronary stent placements.

Other board members include Carla Klein of Easton, community volunteer; Patricia McDermott of Newtown, managing director, Citi Private Bank; Patrick Shaw of Fairfield, partner in the New York law firm of Ehrenkranz & Ehrenkranz; and Dr. Robert Stanton of Fairfield, president, Fairfield-based Orthopaedic Specialty Group.

Ex-officio members of the new board are Meredith Reuben of Stamford, chair and CEO of Milford-based EBP Supply Solutions and chair of the Bridgeport Hospital Board of Directors; Bill Jennings of Fairfield, president and CEO, Bridgeport Hospital; and Steve Jakab of Trumbull, president, Bridgeport Hospital Foundation.

“The increased financial challenges faced by hospitals in light of healthcare reform and cutbacks in federal and state funding triggered our decision to form a separate board, apart from the hospital board, which has governed our fundraising operations up to now,” Jakab said. “The new board’s mission is to encourage dedicated, focused philanthropic support, with an emphasis on gifts that drive value in patient care.”

Jakab points to one donor’s recent gift to support the new Palliative Care program at Bridgeport Hospital as an example of a gift that drives value in care.

“The goal of palliative care is to provide the appropriate level of care to chronically ill patients in the right setting,” Jakab said.

Even without a separate board for most of its history, the foundation has accumulated a notable list of achievements since it was established in 1988, among them:

• Bridgeport Hospital’s first capital campaign in the mid-1990s, which supported the renovation of critical care units, the pediatric center, the main lobby and construction of the 1,000-space Agnes & Ernie Kaulbach Parking Pavilion.

• Naming gifts from late Fairfield philanthropist Norma F. Pfriem to for the hospital’s cancer institute in 1996 and breast care center in 1998

• The campaign to expand and renovate the hospital’s emergency department from 2004 to 2007.

• A naming gift from Southport philanthropist Joel Smilow for the hospital’s heart institute in 2011.

• The campaign to renovate the Connecticut Burn Center, with the support of firefighters across the state, from 2010 to 2012.

• More than $115 million in total philanthropy received in support of Bridgeport Hospital’s programs and services.

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