Discount Tire co-founder's foundation gives $15 million to University of Michigan women's hospital
In the largest gift ever made to women's health at the University of Michigan, the health system announced today it is receiving a $15 million donation from the Ted and Jane Von Voigtlander Foundation to support the construction of the new women's hospital.
On Thursday, U-M's Board of Regents will consider naming the hospital the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. It is part of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Women's Hospital complex being built on U-M's main health system campus.
Ted Von Voigtlander is the late co-founder of the Discount Tire Co. and Jane Von Voigtlander is his late wife.
The $754 million complex is pegged to open in 2012. The women's hospital will have a birthing center, a perinatal assessment center, a high-risk labor and delivery area, a neonatal intensive care unit and fetal surgery program. It will have 50 single labor, delivery and recovery rooms and is expected to reach 4,500 deliveries a year in the new hospital.
U-M's current hospital has 31 private rooms and has about 3,800 deliveries a year. It was originally build to accommodate about 2,500 deliveries. It was not built to hold the sizable technology often needed in surgery and delivery rooms, and U-M's system of keeping a woman in a single room from labor to hospital discharge, said Timothy Johnson, the Bates professor and chairman of OB/GYN at U-M.
The new hospital is planned to have rooms that are private, larger and provide accommodations like in-room refrigerators, a bed for a visitor to stay with new mothers and views of the Arboretum, he said.
Having the women's hospital named for the first time in the hospital's history distinguishes it as having a particular dedication to serving new mothers and their children, he said. Having the hospital's name tied with such well-respected philanthropists is additionally special, Johnson said.
"Obviously this is very exciting," Johnson said. "We have been building our women's program This is a pretty nice recognition that the U-M has an outstanding program, that the future is even brighter and expectations are higher."
Before Jane Von Voigtlander died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, she formed the private family foundation focused on giving money to children, health, medical research, the environment and the arts, according to the foundation's Web site. She and her daughter Gwen Haggerty made previous donations to U-M, including a gift to pulmonary medicine and a $2 million donation to the children's and women's hospital complex.
Haggerty, who is president of the foundation, said she made the decision to make the gift to the U-M women's health hospital because she believed it would make the kind of impact her parents, particularly her mother, valued.
"I know it is what my mom wanted to continue," Haggerty said. "This is just expanding on her work. She was a big believer in the value of women's health. I think she knew (the women's hospital) would have a big impact on the health of women, not just locally, but statewide and nationally."
It is one of several high-profile gifts given toward the $75 million goal for the new complex. So far, about $68 million has been raised for the new building project. Others include:
â€¢ During the recent Thanksgiving football game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, it was announced former U-M football player Charles Woodson was donating $2 million to create a research fund and support construction at the new hospital.
â€¢ In 2006, Domino's Pizza CEO Dave Brandon, and his wife Jan Brandon, gave $4 million to the university, half of which went toward supporting a neonatal intensive care unit in the complex.
â€¢Â In 2007, Detroit Tigers player Brandon Inge donated $100,000 to build an activity area in the pediatric infusion unit.
The fundraising effort is part of a larger campaign called the Michigan Difference, which is a university-wide push to raise $2.5 billion - led by the Brandons and by former U-M head football coach Lloyd Carr and his wife Laurie, the health system said in a release.