More than 300 supporters and leaders of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) gathered at President Betsy Nabel’s home in Chestnut Hill on Thursday, September 12, to celebrate the launch of Life.Giving.Breakthroughs.—the hospitals’ $1 billion campaign to transform the future of medicine.
“Tonight, we set our sights on transformative changes in healthcare—changes and advances that have the potential to help each and every one of us and the ones we love live healthier lives,” Nabel declared in her opening remarks.
Attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception, dinner, and a musical performance by GRAMMY award-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding. Most importantly, the event provided an opportunity for Nabel and other hospital leaders to officially launch the comprehensive campaign and share the hospitals’ plans to take on medicine’s toughest challenges with life-giving breakthroughs that will save and restore lives. (See the Boston Globe’s story about Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. campaign.)
“I’d like you to close your eyes and envision the kinds of breakthroughs we are working toward,” Nabel said to her guests. “A world without heart disease or cancer, unlocking the mysteries of brain diseases, and a healing environment for our most vulnerable patients, our tiny babies we care for in our Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Imagine the breakthrough you would enable if you could.”
Funds raised for the Life. Giving. Breakthroughs. campaign will fuel programmatic advancements in medical training, research, and clinical care across all disease areas and disciplines, as well as a revitalization and expansion of the hospitals’ campuses. Capital projects include renovation of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the creation of a Cancer Pavilion that will enhance patients’ care and experience, and significant renovations at BWFH in Jamaica Plain. Construction is already underway for the Brigham Building for the Future, an 11-story, 360,000-square-foot building next to the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, which will house both clinical and laboratory spaces designed to foster translational science in neurosciences, orthopedics, rheumatology, immunology, and allergy.
As Nabel explained, “Our campaign goal of $1 billion dollars is ambitious, but as is The Brigham Way, we are already exceeding expectations. To date, we have raised $545 million. And for that, I thank all of you.”
Underlining the theme of the campaign, Nabel introduced a video featuring patients and caregivers telling the dramatic journeys through illness, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. She then invited John Fish to the podium. The chairman and CEO of Suffolk Construction, Fish will serve as campaign chair. A former patient at BWH, he shared the personal significance of this campaign with the crowd.
“When it comes to your health, you don’t waste time. You must turn to the best and someone that you can trust. I trust Brigham and Women’s Hospital with my life and the lives of my wife and children,” he explained, adding, “Let’s face it, we all want to be on a winning team. I call this the dream team of physicians. And let’s not forget, most importantly, the staff.”
Fish introduced a video featuring other donors who shared their personal connections to the hospitals and why they are so passionate about giving back.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the performance by Spalding, whose breakthroughs in the music world echo the breakthroughs that BWH and BWFH strive to achieve every day. In keeping with the theme of the evening, she opened her set with a song about discovering something new.
The evening festivities were brought to a close by Hill Holliday founding partner Jack Connors, a long-time supporter of BWH and a member of the campaign cabinet. Described by Nabel as “the best closer in the business,” Connors ended the night with a clarion call to guests delivered with his trademark wit.
“No one else is leaving until we get to a billion dollars,” Connors quipped. But on a more serious note, he added, “Brigham has always been about what can we do better. What we don’t see is what goes on in the labs with the scientists and investigators and the brilliant research folks who are out to solve problems. Your role is very simple. Your role is to help us help them.”
*Since this article went to press, the campaign goal has been extended to $1.5 billion after having reached our $1 billion goal ahead of schedule to continue fueling the future of medicine.