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Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria begins raising an endowment

Target is $5 million
By Edward Stratton

The Daily Astorian

Published on March 13, 2018 3:11PM

Last changed on March 13, 2018 5:02PM

The Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation, which recently completed a $3 million capital campaign for the Knight Cancer Collaborative, is launching a new endowment.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

The Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation, which recently completed a $3 million capital campaign for the Knight Cancer Collaborative, is launching a new endowment.

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Penny Cowden

Penny Cowden

Terri Gibson

Terri Gibson


The Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation has launched a capital campaign to create a $5 million endowment, starting with a pledge from an auxiliary group.

“CMH is 138 years old and we have no endowment,” said Penny Cowden, the foundation’s executive director. “And that’s one thing the CMH foundation wants to fix.”

The foundation recently completed a $3 million capital campaign for the Knight Cancer Collaborative between the hospital and Oregon Health & Science University. After that campaign, the foundation started looking at how it could secure the hospital’s financial future, Cowden said.

Endowment funds are investments used by universities, nonprofits, churches, hospitals and other groups to support operations. Groups commonly spend the interest earned from the investments, leaving the capital in perpetuity.

CMH Auxiliary, a service group formed more than 60 years ago to support the hospital, donated a $500,000 life insurance policy to start the endowment campaign. The policy will be written to a younger physician at the hospital, and the auxiliary group will pay the premiums.

The auxiliary group has also promised to contribute $500,000 in $50,000 annual payments once the foundation raises $4 million from other donors.

Terri Gibson, head of the auxiliary group, said it is hoping to support the hospital’s mission and bring more awareness about what the auxiliary does.

“It’s the future of our health care,” Gibson said of the endowment.

“The more money you have in the endowment, the more you can fund the future,” Cowden said.

Auxiliary volunteers staff lobbies at the hospital to direct visitors to their friends and family and run a gift shop. The group provides baby baskets, blanket warmers, specialty chairs, children’s activity bags, exercise equipment, cough pillows for surgery patients and scholarships for Clatsop Community College nursing students.

Between 2008 to 2015, the auxiliary bought more than $100,000 in specialty equipment for the hospital. In 2015, the group donated $25,000 to the capital campaign for the Knight Cancer Collaborative.

“We have a servant attitude,” Gibson said. “We just want to help.”





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