There are many things that make Bryn Mawr Hospital special, but perhaps most meaningful is the strength of the relationship between hospital and community; between the caregivers who dedicate their lives to helping others and the patients and families they serve.
That connection may blossom overnight due to the life-saving care provided by Bryn Mawr Hospital’s medical team. Or it may build gradually, the result of lifetimes of memories from delivery room births to emergency room bumps and breaks; the hospital, a steady rock on which a family has relied, generation after generation. Read on to hear about gifts to the For Every Generation campaign, from every generation.
The Women’s Board of Bryn Mawr Hospital
Back when Bryn Mawr Hospital was just an idea—a “country doctor’s dream”—a group of women joined together to champion the cause. For more than a century since, generations of women in this community have lent their wisdom, energy and philanthropy with a transformative effect on the hospital.
The first committee of women, now known as the Women’s Board of Bryn Mawr Hospital, consisted of seven individuals who spearheaded the fundraising effort, securing $37,000 to purchase the land upon which the hospital still sits today. Over the years, the Women’s Board has grown in size and scope, touching every part of hospital operations—from facilities and equipment to clinical programs and social services.
In June 2017, the Women’s Board gave the final installment of its magnificent three-year, $500,000 pledge to support the hospital’s campus modernization project and For Every Generation capital campaign.
“The Women’s Board has played a crucial role in every construction project in the hospital’s history—from the very first building in 1893 to the Patient Pavilion, opening in 2019,” says current Chairman Allison Norley. “We were thrilled when the scope of the project was expanded to include services especially meaningful to the women in this community—labor & delivery, maternity and neonatology.”
All too often, the impact of the Women’s Board is measured in terms of dollars—an important consideration, to be sure—but perhaps even more meaningful is the sheer dedication and generosity of each individual, generation after generation, who gives the unique gift of her own time.
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair
Since 1896, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair has been an iconic Main Line institution, beloved by all generations. For decades, Devon’s philanthropic roots have been entwined with a single beneficiary, another community establishment only three years older and six miles down the road—Bryn Mawr Hospital.
In its earliest beginnings as a one-day event, the Devon Horse Show was designed to encourage local farmers to breed more and better horses for transportation, as well as improve the local hunter stock. The mission—and impact—of Devon has transformed over time. Today, rich with history, it has vibrant energy, widespread appeal, and a powerful fundraising arm led by the volunteers of the Country Fair.
In 1919—a historic year for women’s suffrage—women of the Main Line volunteered their time to establish the Show’s Country Fair as a fundraiser to benefit the local community hospital. Their efforts resulted in their first gift to Bryn Mawr Hospital—$27,000. The annual tradition has continued. By 1955, total proceeds given by Devon in support of the Hospital had passed the $1 million mark. The annual sum has grown year after year and broke all records in 2015 with a gift of $500,000 presented to Bryn Mawr Hospital leadership.
In 2014, Devon was selected to receive the Outstanding Volunteer Fund Raising Group award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals at its National Philanthropy Day ceremony. That same year, Devon leaders voted to make an extraordinary pledge—a $2 million commitment to Bryn Mawr Hospital’s transformative modernization project and For Every Generation campaign. To date, Devon’s contributions to the hospital total more than $15 million.
In recognition of this magnificent campaign gift, Bryn Mawr Hospital’s new critical care unit in the Patient Pavilion will be dedicated in honor of Devon—a lasting reminder of the special relationship between our two community establishments that many more volunteers and patrons will participate in for generations to come.
The Ford family
“I know a bit about surgery,” says Barrie Ford. “My father was a surgeon and I grew up around conversations about giving people their health back. I’ve undergone surgery myself (more than once!) and I have a great appreciation for the skill it takes to operate.”
For nearly 25 years, Barrie has been generously contributing to Bryn Mawr Hospital, inspired by the great care that she and others have received. Her son, David, and his wife, Anne, share her appreciation for the role the hospital plays in the community.
“We have three young children, professional and volunteer commitments, and lots of demands on our time, like most families in this area,” David shares. Anne concurs and adds, “With three young, active kids, it’s a huge relief to know we have excellent health care right nearby.”
As these two generations of the Ford family learned more about the campus modernization project at Bryn Mawr Hospital, they considered the impact the new facilities will have for everyone in the community. And, just as Barrie’s father worked to give people their health back, the Fords showed their deep commitment to giving back to others.
Both Barrie Ford and her children—including her son Jamie and his wife Lauren—have made generous commitments to For Every Generation – The Campaign for Bryn Mawr Hospital. Barrie’s support will be associated with the family lounge on an inpatient floor in the new pavilion. Her sons responded to the Major Gifts Match, which provided them with the opportunity to dedicate a new patient room. These gifts have helped to advance campaign progress significantly and reflect the multi-generational appeal of the campus modernization project.
“Some of the best physicians in the field are at Bryn Mawr Hospital,” Barrie concludes. “But what impresses us most is more than their skill—it’s the compassion that they give to patients and their families. It’s wonderful to be able to help provide superior facilities for these incredibly dedicated care teams.”
The Merves family
Stanley Merves knows a good investment. With a successful career in the accounting, investment and technology fields, he has compiled an extraordinary record of achievement as a business professional and entrepreneur. Complimentary to his leading roles in many professional, civic and charitable associations has been his long-time commitment to philanthropy.
The Merves family first became involved with Bryn Mawr Hospital in 1997 when Stanley became a member of the Foundation Board. Concerned about health care changes and a strong advocate for patient care, Stanley, along with his wife Audrey, established the Merves and Roberts Family Fund through the Bryn Mawr Hospital Foundation. Today, this endowment serves to support the recruitment, retention and continuing education of high-caliber nurses. “The Bryn Mawr Hospital nursing teams are to be treasured,” wrote Audrey and Stanley after he received care at the hospital. “Their kindness has meant a great deal to our family over the years.”
It is safe to say their support of Bryn Mawr Hospital has been an “investment in success.” Last year, Bryn Mawr Hospital received Magnet® re-designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for the third time—a feat achieved by only one percent of U.S. hospitals. Magnet®, a four-year status, is the gold standard of patient care and recognizes excellence, shared decision making and professionalism in nursing. Only 22 health systems and seven percent of hospitals in the world are Magnet® designated.
Most recently, Stanley and Audrey were among the earliest benefactors pledging support to Bryn Mawr Hospital’s For Every Generation capital campaign for the campus modernization project. But this time they weren’t alone in the decision making process. The Merveses took time to instill the importance of philanthropy in the next generation. Their daughter, Jennifer Merves Robbins, is continuing the Merves legacy and decided to come together with her parents to make a family commitment to the project.
“I’m grateful to have been raised by parents who prioritized philanthropic pursuits,” says Jennifer. “We know this modernization project is historic for Bryn Mawr Hospital and essential to its nursing and other care giving teams. These are people and programs that we feel are vital for this community and very worthy of our family’s support.”
The Hamilton family
“It’s a tradition—our family’s connection to the hospital…” says Peter Hamilton. “…one that I trust will be carried on by our grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
The Hamilton family relationship with Bryn Mawr Hospital spans more than a century, beginning with Samuel M. Vauclain, the second president and one of the most important figures in the hospital’s early history. For more than 30 years, he led the hospital from its modest beginnings to a reputable and iconic establishment on the Main Line. Mr. Vauclain’s wife, Anne, a devoted member of the organization now known as the Women’s Board of Bryn Mawr Hospital, extended her impact beyond her lifetime, bequeathing much needed land to Bryn Mawr Hospital, which helped to realize the longstanding hopes for our first maternity building.
Today, Peter Hamilton, the Vauclains’ great-grandson, serves as a member of the Governing Board of Main Line Health, contributing his time and thoughtful guidance to the advancement of high quality health care in our region. Together with his wife Alta, Peter has made significant commitments to Bryn Mawr Hospital and our parent entity, Main Line Health, benefiting emergency medicine and nursing excellence, among other areas.
Peter’s relationship with Bryn Mawr Hospital complements the role his mother, Mrs. Dorrance Hill Hamilton, has embraced for decades. As a renowned philanthropist whose generosity has had a powerful impact on numerous Philadelphia institutions, Mrs. Hamilton has continued the family legacy of championing Bryn Mawr Hospital, inspired equally by family tradition and personal experience, as a member of the community the hospital serves. Her significant leadership gift was the first gift to the capital campaign, helping to carve out a footprint for the future patient pavilion. Likewise moved to lead the way, Peter and Alta joined Mrs. Hamilton in helping to launch a groundswell of support for the growth and improvement of our hospital facilities with their own leadership gift to the modernization project.
From generation to generation, the Hamilton family has had a profound impact on Bryn Mawr Hospital’s life-saving work, making a difference in the health of this community and securing superior care for generations to come.