A Merger, a Closure and a New Beginning

Ravenswood Health Care Foundation’s Origin Story

When Advocate Health Care announced the closing of the Advocate Ravenswood Medical Center in 2001, trustees of the hospital’s fundraising and governance arm – the Ravenswood Health Care Foundation – embarked on a process that would bring the hospital’s healing mission to the greater Ravenswood community.

The closing of the Advocate Ravenswood Medical Center in 2002 did not automatically trigger the creation of a foundation, as is the case with typical hospital conversion foundations. Advocate Health Care, a nonprofit healthcare corporation, was not legally bound to establish such a fund.

Back in 1999, when the merger between Ravenswood Hospital and Advocate Health Care took place, Advocate had pledged to contribute $50 million toward the improvement of the hospital over a seven-year period. By 2001, it had quite reasonably not yet reached that goal.

Members of the Ravenswood Health Care Foundation engaged Advocate Health Care’s executive leadership in discussions regarding the fulfillment of its financial commitment to Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center. In July 2002, all parties agreed to an Amendment to the Agreement of Merger, which specified the manner in which the commitment would be realized.

Advocate Health Care pledged to provide $1,000,000 per year through 2017, to be granted by the Ravenswood Health Care Foundation to support community-focused health care, education, outreach and prevention.

Other stipulations included commitments to invest in nearby outpatient facilities and improvements at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. In addition, all agreed to change the composition of the Foundation’s board to include six Advocate representatives, with seven of the thirteen seats maintained by community members.

They hired Leslie Ramyk to serve as executive director and together identified grantmaking priorities, shaped proposal guidelines, completed a Community Health Needs Assessment, participated in grantee convenings, and allocated grant funding.

This remarkable partnership between Advocate and the Ravenswood community extended the life of the old Ravenswood Hospital in ways few could have imagined.