Columbia Health System, the operator of the former Columbia Center Birth Hospital in Mequon, has established a $3 million endowment at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to support women’s health in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties.
The gift will establish the $2.75 million Columbia Health System Endowment Fund for Women’s Health to support services related to preconception, family planning, adolescent health, maternal health, mental health, medical screenings, domestic abuse and research innovations in women’s health care delivery.
A separate fund, the Columbia Health System Endowment for The Family Enrichment Center of Ozaukee, Inc., was created with an initial $250,000 investment and will provide annual support for the Grafton-based nonprofit. It continues the Birth Hospital’s decade-long support of the Family Enrichment Center.
“This most generous endowment from Columbia Health System will not only assist the FEC with ongoing support but also establish an investment vehicle with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to help grow our vision,” said Jonah Turner, board chair of FEC. “We look forward to creating a more efficient, collaborative, and service experience for our agency partners, local community and volunteers.”
Both funds will be administered by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
Columbia Health System previously oversaw Columbia Center Birth Hospital, which ceased operations in 2018.
The Birth Hospital was created in 2001 to provide elective sterilizations to patients, which had historically been provided by Columbia Hospital. In 1995, St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee joined with Columbia Hospital to establish Columbia St. Mary’s.
The Birth Hospital moved from Columbia St. Mary’s former Newport Avenue campus to Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Campus in 2007. When it closed in 2018, the hospital’s services transitioned to Ascension Wisconsin.
“We wanted to leave a legacy for Columbia Hospital and for the community we served in Ozaukee County,” said Candy Casey, former president and chief executive officer of Columbia Health System. “We had $3 million to provide to our community and selected the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to establish two endowment funds to continue to make a positive impact for women and families.”
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation said it will release a request for proposals supporting healthy birth outcomes in August, and the Columbia Health System Endowment Fund for Women’s Health will be a key source of funding.
“The dedication to the care of women and families that defined Columbia Health System throughout its existence in Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties is now secure for all time,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Not only is this gift a great tribute to the thousands of babies born and the countless families who received care through the years, the Foundation will ensure these new endowments support programs that improve community health far into the future.”