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Foundation Pledges $5 Million Challenge Grant for Hospital

The Wood-Claeyssens gift and matching funds would help meet the $100 million goal to rebuild Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation has provided a $5 million challenge grant to support the campaign for Cottage Health System.

From now until the end of 2008, The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation will match dollar for dollar up to $5 million all new gifts and grants made to the campaign.

If the community meets the challenge, the Wood-Claeyssens gift would enable Cottage Health System to complete its goal of raising $100 million to help rebuild Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

“Cottage Health System is truly safeguarding its commitment to Santa Barbara County, and we think it’s important to do our part to support this effort. We hope that the challenge grant will inspire others to join us in this effort,” said Noelle Claeyssens Burkey, president of The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful to The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation for providing this $5 million challenge grant,” said Ron Werft, president and chief executive officer of Cottage Health System, based in Santa Barbara. “The impact of the grant is enormous, in that it would be the catalyst that takes us over the top in our fundraising goal.”

The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation has been a strong supporter of several other facilities that are part of Cottage Health System. In recent years, the foundation has given $1.5 million in funds to Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital — including a $500,000 challenge grant to help with the completion of a $7 million building campaign and more than $1 million to Rehabilitation Institute at Santa Barbara (now called Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital).

The new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital will include a doubling of green space and gardens, as well as the use of water elements throughout the landscape design to create a more patient-centered healing environment. Patient and visitor walkways and quiet meditation areas will contribute to a sense of serenity and privacy.

Three Cottage facilities in Santa Barbara, Goleta and the Santa Ynez Valley must undergo seismic upgrading to meet California’s mandated requirements for all acute-care hospitals in the state. However, no local, state or federal funds are available to fund the projects.

Cottage Health System has a goal to raise $100 million in funds through the community’s support to rebuild Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, which is estimated to cost more than $700 million to complete. The first two patient pavilions of the new hospital and the new Diagnostic and Treatment Center are expected to open in 2011.

Maria Zate represents Cottage Health System.

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