MUSC donations get lift from children’s hospital

The $350 million MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital is scheduled to open in 2019 at Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive.

Boosted by a $25 million donation, gifts and pledges to the Medical University of South Carolina jumped 66 percent in its last fiscal year.

Nearly half of the total $73.1 million raised is designated for a new $350 million women’s and children’s hospital to be built in downtown Charleston, MUSC said Monday.

The lion’s share of the donations — $48.3 million — came from individuals. That was followed by foundations at $9.6 million, nonprofits at $7.8 million, and corporations at $7.5 million.

The gift total included a $25 million contribution from software firm Benefitfocus CEO Shawn Jenkins and his family. They announced the donation in May to help build the new children’s hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2019 at Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive.

The fundraising campaign for the project began within the last year. Of all the gifts and pledges, 45 percent, or nearly $33 million, will go toward the future MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. Among corporate donors, Boeing Co. is giving $5 million.

MUSC has said the new medical center is needed because its existing children’s hospital, built 30 years ago, is too small and outdated.

Jim Fisher, the university’s vice president for development and alumni affairs, attributed some of the overall increased fundraising activity to “strong public confidence” in the new leadership at MUSC. Dr. David Cole was named president in July 2014.

“Since day one, he has charged the entire MUSC family with putting patients at the center of everything we do, whether we’re involved in clinical care, education, research or the general day-to-day workings of the university,” Fisher said of Cole in a statement. “That message has resonated very strongly with the community, and I believe that’s reflected in this growing philanthropic support.”

Also, MUSC said the investment portfolio for its foundation gained 3 percent in fiscal 2015. That brings the total assets to more than $514 million and the endowment to $322.6 million as of June 30. Those funds are used to pay for scholarships, endowed chairs, new buildings, capital improvements and various research, academic and patient care programs.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.