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Foundation transfers $15M endowment

A Springfield organization that provides free, local access to inpatient reproductive services is able to do so thanks to a $15 million endowment.

The Community Health Foundation recently entrusted that endowment to the Springfield Foundation for investment management — and to keep the free services readily available.

“It’s local. They have a local board. It’s professionally run. And their returns are good,” said Joy Rogers, executive director of the Community Health Foundation.

Community Health provides close to 200 free, inpatient tubal ligations and vasectomies a year in a city now served by a single Catholic hospital.

The transfer of the endowment means the 65-year-old Springfield Foundation now manages $60 million in assets, Executive Director Ted Vander Roest said.

“It validates all the work we’ve done in the investment area,” he said.

Of the 279 endowments now managed by the Springfield Foundation, 70 belong to agencies like Community Health.

“The agencies are starting to realize we can manage the investment side of it better than they can on their own,” Vander Roest said.

The CHF endowment most recently was managed by the Cincinnati investment firm Fort Washington, Rogers said.

For Community Health, which operates within a $3.9 million, 10,423-square-foot pavilion attached to the new downtown Springfield Regional Medical Center, the endowment accounts for 98 percent of the organization’s cash flow, she said.

“We can’t operate without it,” Rogers said. “We provide all of our services free of charge to the community. Our endowment is extremely important.”

Community Health also teaches middle school and high school students on everything from sex education and relationships to bullying and nutrition.

Established in 1986 as the Community Hospital Health Services Foundation, the foundation was the parent company of Community Hospital until the hospital’s 2004 merger with the Catholic-affiliated Mercy Medical Center.

As a 50-percent owner of Community Mercy Health Partners — the new hospital’s parent company — CHF provides the sterilizations and contraception that the Catholic hospital can’t under its religious directives.

A patient who has a tubal ligation, for example, is taken from the hospital to the Community Health pavilion.

Doctors may still bill for their services, Rogers said, but Community Health absorbs the costs of the nursing staff, the space and supplies.

“It’s all seamless to the patient,” she said. “We encourage the community to take advantage of the great services here.”

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