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Published: May 23, 2007

By Tampa General Hospital


Tampa (May 23, 2007) - With just $2 million left to go, the Tampa General Hospital Foundation took its capital campaign to a new level last night when it kicked off the campaign's community phase. Under this new phase, the Foundation is seeking contributions from community residents to help finance the expansion and redesign of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The goal is to raise at least $7 million of the NICU project's estimated $15 million cost through the campaign entitled "Tiny babies. Big priority." The remaining costs will be underwritten through TGH's sale of bonds. The Foundation has already raised over $5 million towards its goal through donations from hospital and Foundation board members, philanthropic individuals, the medical staff, and employees. That amount raised includes a total of $282,050 from generous TGH employees who contributed to the project through the recently concluded Employee Campaign. Now the campaign is focusing on people outside the organization for support, said the campaign's director, Mike Messano. "We began the campaign inwardly, turning to employees, physicians, and board members. Now we're moving from our 'family' or internal group and into the community," Mike said. With local media personality Jack Harris and his wife, Joy, as honorary chairs, the campaign will reach out through mailings and personal appeals to prominent community members, current donors, and others who may be interested in contributing to the NICU project. A fundraising effort aimed at physicians is also now in progress under the guidance of Drs. David Keefe, Robert Nelson, and Thomas Bernasek, with presentations to the medical staff at grand rounds and other meetings. In addition, a corporate campaign aimed at businesses is now going on under the direction of Foundation Board Member Ed Oelschlaeger. Plans for the NICU are to develop it into a unit that's not only larger but that also incorporates the most optimal design for a baby's healing process. Ultimately, the NICU will expand into space now occupied by Labor and Delivery after L&D moves into the new building's fourth floor early next year. This expansion will enable the NICU to grow from its current 19,000 square feet to approximately 33,000 square feet and allow it to increase its beds from 42 to approximately 55. In addition, the NICU's new design will incorporate a mixture of private and semi-private rooms. This will be a vast departure from the current "open space" concept with no private spaces for the babies and their families.