CHC Foundation is Idaho’s second largest private foundation, and the largest in Southeastern Idaho. The Foundation’s original funds have their roots in the Idaho Falls and surrounding area community and the generosity of the Franciscan Order of Perpetual Adoration of the Catholic Church.
The Foundation’s pedigree begins with the establishment of the Fuller Hospital in 1911, which then became the Spencer Hospital when it moved to 789 South Boulevard in the early 1920’s.
In the fall of 1941, the Franciscan Order of Perpetual Adoration took over the Spencer Hospital and renamed it Sacred Heart Hospital. The hospital was operated by the nuns of the Franciscan Order of Perpetual Adoration, based in La Cross, Wisconsin. The original Sacred Heart Hospital had only 30 beds. During the next 25 years, two major fundraising campaigns were undertaken to expand the hospital to meet the increased needs of the community. The Franciscan Order contributed $2,590,000, and the community raised $585,000 to increase the number of beds from 30 to 120 and add many needed labs, support facilities and operating rooms.
In 1969, a community non-profit corporation was formed to operate the hospital. Amid challenges of hospital technology, cost and operations in the early 1970s, the Franciscan Order that owned Sacred Heart Hospital donated the facility to the non-profit Idaho corporation. In February 1974, it became a stand-alone hospital with a local board of directors and its own administration. The hospital’s name was changed to Community Hospital of Idaho Falls.
Community Hospital operated for nearly four years as one of two Idaho Falls hospitals. The other hospital was the LDS Hospital. Both local hospitals were experiencing mounting capital costs for new diagnostic equipment, accelerating hospital care costs and redundancy issues related to competition with one another.
On January 1, 1978, after nearly two years of negotiations, Community Hospital and Idaho Falls Hospital (previously LDS Hospital) consolidated into a single corporation, Idaho Falls Consolidated Hospitals, Inc. (IFCH). The Community and LDS Hospitals were renamed Parkview and Riverview respectively. The consolidation ended the 67- year history of Community Hospital as an independent, stand-alone not-for- profit hospital serving the greater Idaho Falls area.
In 1982, the IFCH Board announced a plan to build a new 246-bed hospital in Idaho Falls to replace Riverview and Parkview. This announcement stimulated a major controversy, which polarized the community. Sides were taken, and battle lines were drawn. The Community Hospital Board was catapulted into the middle of the controversy. It determined that the best solution to the hospital controversy was to have a new hospital built by an independent organization, and for Community Hospital to sell its shares.
After thousands of hours of negotiation, legal support and deliberations, the Board of Community Hospital of Idaho Falls, Inc. led the development of a plan to sell the hospital’s bed charters to Hospital Corporation of America, liquidate the old IFCH Corporation, and have HCA build, operate and own a new state-of-the-art hospital in Idaho Falls. The Board further determined to form a charitable foundation from the proceeds of liquidation and deconsolidation. In September 1984, this was accomplished. Community Hospital received $4,500,000 initially from the sale to HCA and utilized the funds to start the CHC Foundation. HCA formed a majority-owned joint venture with IHC and took over operation of the consolidation until the new hospital, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, went online on December 21, 1986.
After the new hospital started operating, liquidation of the old hospitals began to produce many side benefits to the community. First, most of the furnishings and equipment were given to worthy causes and organizations. The benefit of these contributions to the area’s non-profit medical, social, educational and charitable organizations was immeasurable. Second, the region obtained a new, advanced hospital facility, which continues to provide state-of-the-art medical services to the community to the present day. Finally, CHC Foundation received additional assets of approximately $3,000,000 from the liquidation of the real property where Sacred Heart/Community/Parkview Hospital once stood.
In 1987, the Internal Revenue Service granted CHC Foundation private foundation status. The foundations’ roots are recognized in the name of CHC Foundation. The initials “CHC” come from Community Hospital Corporation. The Foundation is a meld of the legacy of service from the Franciscan Order of Perpetual Adoration, and the Idaho Falls area community. The CHC Foundation has forbearers who made major contributions to the region. The community will long remember the Sacred Heart, Community and Parkview hospital for its medical accomplishments, and its generosity. It is the Foundation’s intent to carry on this history of achievement and contribution to the region the hospital once served.
During the past thirty years, CHC Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to non-profit organizations within the service area of Sacred Heart/Community/Parkview Hospital. The Foundation grants five to six percent of its total funds each year. Careful investment of the Foundation’s corpus makes it likely that CHC Foundation will be able to continue to make grants for many years to come.
The CHC Foundation is managed by an eleven-member Board of Directors, all of whom volunteer their time and serve without compensation. Board Members are drawn from the service-area community, and each brings expertise, experience and commitment to the Board. Original CHCF Board members included Joan Hahn, William Botts, Milt Adam, Gerald Sheid, Ray Pullen, Linda Martin, Donald McKay, Ernest Craner, and Anne Voilleque. Other past board members include Janice Matthews, Nick Masington, Donald Bjornson, M.D., Joan Chesbro, Charles Rice, Maureen McFadden, John Sackett, Deborah Jenkins, M.D., Forde Johnson, Keith Ormond and John St. Clair.
CHC Foundation’s mission is to provide grants to publicly supported, tax-exempt, non-profit organizations in the greater Easter Idaho region. CHC Foundation gives priority to innovative and enriching projects which serve the public interest and well-being and significantly improve the quality of life of the people of the region. There are two granting sessions each year, in the spring and fall.