A Success Story from a Small Foundation


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Effective June 30, 2011, Lazarus House Hospice Inc. (LHH) has dissolved its 501(c)(3) organization and transferred its assets to the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Foundation (The Foundation). The acquisition is the culmination of two and a half years of discussions between the two organizations.


LHH, a Cookeville-based, not-for-profit hospice care provider, held assets of cash and property of over $1 million after selling their Certificate of Need as well as their name to a for-profit hospice organization for $750,000 with retained ownership of their office property worth an additional $250,000. Upon completion of the sale in 2006, LHH formed the Lazarus House Hospice Foundation (LHHF) with a volunteer board of directors and a part-time business manager.


The LHHF had a wonderful opportunity to assist hospice patients in financial need and to otherwise carry out its mission. However, without full-time administrative support, the LHHF could not fully achieve its potential, and hiring staff would have consumed an inordinate proportion of resources better directed toward the intended charity. The LHHF mission was continuously to improve the quality and availability of palliative-care services to the dying and grieving throughout the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.


Among the specific functions of the LHHF were:

  • Providing direct assistance to hospice and palliative-care patients in need
  • Offering educational services such as forums, seminars, short courses and conferences
  • Extending the availability of resident hospice facilities


The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) health-care foundation for Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC), held its first board meeting on February 1, 2007. No financial goals were established, and no feasibility study was done. The Foundation built a case statement with three major project goals, which have not changed throughout the organization's initial five years:

  • Provide financial assistance to patients who are underinsured or uninsured
  • Provide needed hospital equipment that has not been budgeted
  • Develop an endowment fund with proceeds held in perpetuity, interest from which will be used to further the mission of The Foundation


During its existence, The Foundation has raised $3.3 million from more than 1,600 donors. In the past four and a half years, The Foundation has:

  • Assisted 2,202 patients with utility bills, prescriptions, gas cards, mammograms, medical supplies and other needs to relieve financial pressures during various illnesses, at a cost of $526,830
  • Assisted with various hospital needs, including underwriting the lobby sculpture, The Cancer Center Garden, the chapel furniture, and equipment for the education department, and assisted in underwriting the new pediatrics department
  • Assisted by the LHHF acquisition, developed an endowment fund of nearly $1 million


Serving the 14 counties of the Upper Cumberland region of Middle Tennessee with a population of 350,000 people, The Foundation began discussions with the LHHF about acquiring its assets and setting up a fund to assist hospice patients throughout the CRMC service area. The acquisition included the following preamble:


  "WHEREAS, the Lazarus House Foundation, also known as the Lazarus House Hospice, Inc., has operated independently in and around Cookeville, Tennessee, as a provider of quality hospice services; and


  WHEREAS the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Foundation was established to further the mission of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center (hereinafter “CRMC”) through support of patient assistance programs, provision of additional equipment, furnishings and services to CRMC and the community it serves; and


  WHEREAS, the Board of LHHF has determined that the mission of LHHF and its ability to provide services in this community would be enhanced through a successful combination with The Foundation; and


  WHEREAS The Foundation is a qualifying 501(c)(3) that is fully capable and qualified to continue to carry out the mission and vision of LHHF;


  NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and of the mutual covenants, agreements, representations and warranties herein contained, and in order to set forth the conditions upon which this Agreement shall be carried out, the parties hereto covenant and agree as follows ..."


A $100,000 fund has been established within The Foundation to further accomplish the mission of the newly formed Foundation Hospice Fund. The mission of the Foundation Hospice Fund is that of the acquired LHHF. A Hospice Fund advisory committee is in place to facilitate fund mission accomplishment and to pursue the fund’s vision: “The medical community, hospice services, and the public working together in mutual understanding, as they expertly minister to the needs of the dying and grieving.”


This advisory committee will maintain close contact with all hospice and palliative-care organizations in the region to determine, prioritize and service associated needs. With no overhead expense, 100 percent of Hospice Fund resources will be consumed in pursuit of the Hospice Fund mission.


The LHHF dissolved its 501(c) (3) effective June 30, 2011, and transferred all assets to The Foundation. In return for these assets, The Foundation will provide services to the Hospice Fund Advisory Committee such as are presently offered to other funds of The Foundation, including:

  • Fund-raising training and direction designed to support CRMC Hospice Fund income
  • Assistance with attracting support and contributions from all hospice care providers and hospice stakeholders in the Upper Cumberland region
  • Marketing assistance with fund-raising efforts
  • Routine executive, administrative and clerical support
  • Assistance in the promotion and delivery of an annual hospice educational seminar in conjunction with the CRMC Ethics Committee and the CRMCF Hospice Fund Advisory Committee


This joining of the two foundations is an exciting example of synergism — furthering the goal accomplishment of two service organizations through collaborative efforts. The beneficiaries are the many individuals throughout our Upper Cumberland region with special needs within the now broadened scope of The Foundation’s services.