Mark Siewert, chair of the Golisano Children’s Hospital Board of Directors and co-chair of the hospital’s campaign, has committed to a $1 million gift toward the hospital’s campaign. Siewert and his wife, Marcia, are among the first individual donors to provide large gifts to the $100 million campaign, which will support both a new children’s hospital and major enhancements to pediatric programs. The campaign is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s $650 million campaign and the overall $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.
“Not only is building the hospital important, but each one of the programs is also important,” said Siewert, former owner of Siewert Equipment Company. “You really have to build both at the same time. You have to ratchet them both up.”
Nina F. Schor, pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital and the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said donors like the Siewerts are forward-thinking and want to see the hospital succeed far into the future. Siewert is not only giving toward the new hospital; a large portion of his gift is also going toward all seven pediatric programs targeted for enhancements through the campaign.
“Mark and Marcia are part of a new wave of donors Golisano Children's Hospital is embracing throughout this campaign. They are integral to the success of both the new building and the programs that will be housed within it,” Schor said. “They understand that we need to endow positions and programs to improve them but also to ensure they are there and of high quality for future generations of children.”
Siewert is in a special position to understand how important it is to have expert care in the Finger Lakes region. A decade ago, his son, Mark Daniel Siewert, was in need of those services. Following surgery, Mark Daniel spent eight months in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Throughout that process, the Siewerts saw the dedication of the hospital's physicians, nurses and staff. Siewert was compelled to join the hospital's fundraising board while his son was still a patient. Ultimately, Mark Daniel lost his battle, but the couple felt the need to give back to the hospital that had tried so hard to save their son.
From the many, many nights the Siewerts spent in the PICU, they knew how much a bigger, more modern PICU was needed so they helped to raise money to build that unit, which opened in late 2004. When the hospital launched its effort to build the new Pediatric Surgical Suite, the Siewerts immediately saw the benefits of building in more space for family and for building the pre-surgical and post-surgical areas in a way that would allow parents to be with their children as much as possible throughout the process. That suite opened in 2006.
Siewert took over duties as board chair in June 2010, embracing his dual role as board chair and a campaign leader, which is underscored by this generous gift. He and Marcia are excited to help the hospital continue to improve its facilities and its programs.
“I love Rochester,” Siewert said. “Having a good children's hospital is good for the city; it's good for employment; it's good for businesses.
“Employees don't have to go out of town to find care for their children. If we had had to go to Pittsburgh or Cleveland or NYC – as I ran the business – I don't know how I would have done that.”