United Memorial Foundation drops 501(c)3 status

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:05 am on Friday, August 03, 2012

GREENVILLE — The 501(c)3 status of the Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation, which helps guide fundraising efforts for both the Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals, has been dissolved and merged into the overall Spectrum Health Foundation that covers its hospitals system wide.

A 501 (c) is an American tax-exempt nonprofit organization. A 501 (c) 3 are commonly charitable organizations.

What this means is that the current Greenville-based hospital foundation will become a committee of the much broader, Grand Rapids-based Spectrum Health Foundation system. While the board’s 501(c)3 status has changed, it is still a non-profit organization to which donations are tax deductible, said Shelly Westbrook, Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation director.

“This provides efficiencies and tools at our finger tips to use that were not available before,” said Westbrook.

Westbrook and Tina Freese-Decker, president of Spectrum Health United and Kelsey hospitals, said it’s important people know that money raised locally stays here.

“If the funds were designated to United or Kelsey, it will continue to support United and Kelsey,” Westbrook said.

Freese-Decker said one of the primary reasons they made this move was because it allows the organization to provide more services to donors.

For example, one service the Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation will be able to offer now that it has partnered with the Spectrum Health Foundation is providing year-end reports for donors.

“(Donors) will be able to see a how much they gave each year,” Freese-Decker said, noting before this decision, donors had to rely on informal documentation such as thank you cards to tally their donations.

The new year-end reports will break down for donors what they gave at a particular event. Freese-Decker said it is important to note the Spectrum Health United Memorial Foundation board of directors will still guide the local decision-making process.

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