Montecito philanthropist Leni Fe Bland has recently given another generous gift of $1 million to help in the fund to rebuild Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Currently all three of the local hospitals under the umbrella of the Cottage Health System – Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley and Goleta Valley – are under construction to seismically upgrade the facilities to meet the mandated requirements for all California acute-care hospitals. The renovation of these facilities is entirely privately funded by donors such as Fe Bland, as there are no local, state or federal funds available.
“Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital serves a vital role in our region by providing excellent medical care to people when they need it most,” Fe Bland said in a written statement. “Now the hospital needs the support of the community, and I’m happy to do my part.”
Fe Bland, a baroness, is known locally for her support of many non profit organizations, including Santa Barbara City College, the American Red Cross, Visiting Nurses and Hospice, and the Rescue Mission among others. Additionally, she founded the Leni Fe Bland music scholarship program in 1992 to provide scholarships for classical music students. Fe Bland has received several awards for her commitment to community organizations.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous gift from Ms. Fe Bland to help rebuild Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital,” said Ron Werft, president and chief executive officer of Cottage Health System based in Santa Barbara. “Ms. Fe Bland’s passion and dedication to not-for-profit organizations is truly an inspiration to all of us. We are honored to have her support.”
The project is estimated to cost over $700 million, of which Cottage Health System has the goal of raising $100 million through community support. The remaining $600 million will come from three of the Cottage Health System’s resources – Hospital Operations, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation Assets and Tax Exempt Bonds. As of June 2008 the hospital has reported over $90 million in gifts and pledges from the Santa Barbara community.
Other large donations include those from Lord Paul and Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree ($10 million), the Orfalea Fund for the Orfalea Children’s Center ($5 million), Mr. and Mrs. John Lea (3.2 million), the Harold McAlister Charitable Foundation ($2.5 million), Mr. and Mrs. Stephen A. Haselton ($2.5 million), Kommerstadt Family Trust ($2.5 million), SAGE Publication ($2.5 million).
The first two patient pavilions in the rebuilt Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and the new Diagnostic and Treatment Center are scheduled to open in 2011. By which date, the hospital plans to have begun construction on the third pavilion. New improvements to the facility include a helipad for the air ambulance transporting of patients, updated technologies, comforts for patients and visitors, and more space for gardens, meditation areas, a spiritual center and even a “River of Life” flowing through the interior courtyard to create a more healing environment for patients. Additionally, two new parking structures have already been completed.
Cottage Hospital provides extensive care for the Santa Barbara community. In the past year, the three hospitals combined provided 21,000 people with inpatient care, 63,000 treatment in the 24-hour emergency care, and delivered 2,800 newborns.