Most frequent questions and answers
The West End Health Foundation is a conversion 501 c (3) foundation that materialized on July 1, 2013 following Bell Hospital’s agreement to its purchase by LifePoint Hospital. It is a stand-alone corporation and is not affiliated in any way with LifePoint, Bell Hospital, or Superior Health Foundation (formerly Marquette General Foundation). In the fall of 2018, the foundation board decided to do business as the West End Health Foundation.
The original sale agreement of Bell Hospital included a $1M donation to a locally governed charity to provide grants to the community. While $1M is certainly a lot of money, the board of directors of the foundation understood that it was not enough to create a sustainable, independent grantmaking organization. Operational costs and granting expenses, as well as compliance expenses associated with being the ‘watch dog’ organization, would deplete the $1M quickly. The board reviewed its options, which included affiliating with an already existing foundation, establishing a plan to be a grantmaking organization with a sunset date, or requesting the attorney general consider increasing the $1M to a sustainable level. In short, on July 1, 2013, the board of directors did not know what form the foundation would take.
Once the foundation realized it would receive additional funds, it began creating its mission statement, vision for the future, investment policy and grantmaking guidelines. It also hired contracted with a CPA and Investment Firm to begin managing the funds and providing appropriate documentation to the IRS. Knowing that it would take a while to develop these pieces, the board of directors knew it was important to begin providing support as soon as possible. It set its first competitive grant cycle was June 30, 2104. In addition to supporting the schools and the YMCA with special event fundraising, the foundation also committed to a matching grant for the Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network’s Swim Teal Lake Benefit for Diabetes. This grant matched every $1 raised by swimmers for their registration (up to $10,000).
The grantmaking focus of the foundation relates directly to the service area of the hospital that was purchased. Marquette General was the specialty hospital for the entire Upper Peninsula so the Superior Health Foundation’s geographic priority followed suit. Bell Hospital’s primary service area was the two cities (Ishpeming, Negaunee) and nine townships (Ishpeming, Negaunee, Tilden, Richmond, Ely, Humboldt, Champion, Michigamme, Republic) that make up Western Marquette County.
While the geographic focus is to provide funding for nonprofits that support individuals in Western Marquette County, the foundation is not limited to this area. Grants will be reviewed that affect Marquette County as a whole, as well as the Upper Peninsula.
The foundation is located in the Greater Ishpeming Negaunee Chamber of Commerce building located at 910 US 41 West, Ishpeming, MI 49849.
Questions may be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 906-204-7410.
Mail should be sent to:
West End Health Foundation
P.O. Box 211, Ishpeming, MI 49849
No. Under the final sale agreement and given the high cost of acting as the compliance agent, the Attorney General of the State of Michigan appointed an independent auditing firm to act as the watch-dog. All documents according to the sale can be found on www.michigan.gov/bell . Any concerns with Bell Hospital or LifePoint may be directed to the State of Michigan Attorney General Charitable Assets Division or the independent auditing firm:
Stout Risius Ross
4000 Town Center, 20th Floor
Southfield, MI 48075
Fax No. 248-208-8822
Attention: Jay B. Wachowicz, CFA
The Bell Foundation, which provided funding to Bell Hospital to invest in new technology, equipment, and to build the new hospital, transitioned into the Western Marquette County Health Foundation. In 2018 the name changed to the West End Health Foundation and the non-profit tax ID was transferred to the new foundation.
While the sale agreement was under review by the Attorney General, the foundation’s board of directors had opportunities to meet with staffers from the Attorney General’s Office and state their case requesting the $1M be revisited. The largest components of the case focused on the large amount of funds raised by the community during the 2005-2008 Capital Campaign and ongoing fundraising for technological initiatives, which totaled over $7M in cash and in-kind gifts. Comparing this amounts with the $1M figure, ongoing costs for compliance, and best practices with how granting organizations are funded (utilizing 3-5% of interest), helped the foundation board of director’s case that $1M was insufficient to create an independent, locally governed, grantmaking foundation.
In November, the foundation was notified that the $1M contribution would be made upon finalization of the sale. In addition, however, any unused funds from the sale of the hospital would also be provided to the foundation. It was announced that the final amount (to be determined once all covenants of the sale were met) would be in the range of $3M-$7M. By July 1, 2014 the final amount received was $7M.
The Mission of the West End Health Foundation is advancing health and wellness in the West End community.
The Vision of the West End Health Foundation is To build a culture encouraging healthy lifestyles in the West End.
The grant deadline is April 1 and October 1 every year. The Spring Grant Cycle is for Capital Grant funding and the Fall Grant Cycle is for Programmatic Grant Funding. Included in the Spring Grant Cycle are Grants provided to the four West End School Districts.
In order for the Foundation to maintain its 501c3 charitable status, a percentage of its annual earnings must be derived from fundraising activities, charitable contributions and outside grants. If over a rolling 4-year period the Foundation does not meet this requirement, it would revert to a private foundation whereby 5% of its corpus would need to be withdrawn on an annual basis. This would limit its long-term ability to provide health and wellness funding for Western Marquette County and beyond.
The foundation has one part-time employee. Doug Russell was hired as Foundation Manager in April 2021.