By Sophia Ricco
Huntington Hospital’s annual gala was a celebration that raised funds, honored one of its own and introduced a new campaign.
The annual gala was held at Pine Hollow Country Club on Nov. 30. Since its beginnings in 2006, the gala has functioned as a fundraiser for hospital initiatives that advance health care within the community. This year, the gala surpassed its goals, raising nearly $400,000.
Going back in Huntington Hospital’s history, philanthropy has been essential from the beginning.
“Fundraising is instrumental and the driving force of our innovations at Huntington,” Dolli Bross, associate director of special events and gala organizer, said. “Our first gift was the building donated by Cornelia Prime in 1914.”
Except for the hospital’s 100th anniversary gala in 2016, this year’s gala raised the largest amount ever. Donations will be utilized to purchase new hyperbaric chambers and equipment for the hospital’s interventional radiology unit.
“Northwell’s commitment to Huntington’s growth, coupled with this community’s generosity is a powerful combination that’s vital to our success,” board chairman Keith Friedlander said. “It is you fueling our momentum going forward.”
The gala is not only a fundraiser, but also a “friendraiser”, with the hospital taking time during the event to educate guests on their leadership and programs. Attendees were a mix of board members, medical staff, local officials, business owners, influential community members, and patients, each with their own background and impact.
“The more ambassadors who know the services we are providing, the more ambassadors that can help us educate our community on the services available,” Bross said.
The hospital’s chief of staff, James Romanelli, MD, was honored for his leadership and commitment to Huntington Hospital. The Cold Spring Harbor resident has been treating patients since the 1990s as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, later becoming the hospital’s chief of surgery from 2000-2012 and a member of the board of directors. He was presented an award and gave a “heartwarming” speech.
“He talked about how Huntington has been a part of his life for almost ever and he couldn’t imagine not having the hospital right here in our community,” Bross said.
The gala brought the hospital’s best to the forefront, officially launching Northwell’s “Outpacing the Impossible Campaign.” The program will set out to improve hospitals and clinical programs, advance research and teaching initiatives, and support capital projects.
“Every gift to this campaign fuels our ability to disrupt expected standards,” Friedlander said. “Across Northwell, we believe in the power and impact of taking on challenges and going where others won’t. All you have to do is look around at all of the progress that’s been made at our hospital and local care locations.”
Outpacing the Impossible will support Huntington Hospital based on community needs.
Initiatives will be identified and met thanks to nearly $500 million that has been raised since the campaign’s start in January 2016.
“The generous donations raised at this year’s gala will help Huntington Hospital continue to provide state-of-the-art healthcare to the residents of Suffolk County,” executive director of Huntington Hospital, Nick Fitterman, MD, said.
As a conglomerate of hospitals and care providers, Northwell will use their funds to grow and enhance the entire network that spreads across New York state. The $1 billion campaign will allow improvements to take place that will advance the non-profit organization, as research and information is shared.
“It lets everyone across our whole footprint know exactly what Northwell Health can do to help them all throughout their lives,” Bross said.