DH Employees Inspire Gift to Patient Pavilion
Bill and Sue Conaty’s gift commitment in support of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s (DHMC) new Patient Pavilion is striking in its generosity: $5.25 million, the second-largest donation in Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) history, a component of which will come in the form of a bequest. The inspiration behind it is remarkable as well: The Conatys made their gift in honor of all Dartmouth- Hitchcock Health employees.
“It felt natural for us to say this is in honor of the hardworking folks of this organization,” says Bill, who served on the D-H Board of Trustees from 2011 until 2020. “I’ve never met a more dedicated and appreciative group of people.”
The Pavilion, set to open in 2023, will provide 64 single-occupancy rooms and include unfinished space to allow for future expansion. As a board member, Bill understood the urgent need for this facility.
“In nine years of meetings I kept hearing about the hundreds of people DHMC was forced to turn away because we didn’t have the capacity to care for them. It felt wrong,” he says, “so Sue and I asked, ‘What can we do?’”
This isn’t the first time the Conatys posed that question. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill and Sue made a generous donation to D-H’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Fund. Five years earlier, they addressed the challenge of rural workforce recruitment and retention by launching the Conaty Institute for Transformational Health Care Leadership at D-H. “There’s no shortage of technical expertise already in this organization,” Bill says. “This initiative offers executive leadership courses to develop D-H’s future leaders from within.”
We’re at a time in our life when we have to ask, besides taking care of our family, where do we want our money to go? Sue and I decided we could do more for D-H. And we hope it kick-starts that thinking in others.”
The Conatys are committed to continuing their support of workforce development at D-H and they see the Pavilion as part of that. “I want D-H to be the employer of choice in New Hampshire, not only promoting from within but also attracting the best medical students and top docs,” says Bill. “Now, while other institutions are cutting back, D-H is expanding. It sets us apart.”
That’s why this felt to the Conatys like the right time to make their extraordinary gift commitment. “We’re at a time in our life when we have to ask, besides taking care of our family, where do we want our money to go?” Bill says. “Sue and I decided we could do more for D-H. And we hope it kick-starts that thinking in others.”
In this way, the Conatys are like the D-H employees they’ve honored: giving of themselves and inspiring others to do the same.