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How Bruce Springsteen and Others Developed, Sustained a Community Hospital

Sep 15, 2023
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When neighbors came together to establish Lwala Community Hospital 16 years ago, they had a vision for the future that the hospital would provide health care for their rural community and save lives for generations to come.

Today, that hospital serves more than 70,000 patients each year.

And now, some high-profile friends are lending their support to the Lwala Community Hospital Endowment, which
will secure the long-term sustainability of the hospital.

Bruce Springsteen met co-founders Milton and Fred Ochieng’ as they were establishing the hospital–he and his wife, Patti, have been supporters ever since.

Supermodel and founder of Every Mother Counts, Christy Turlington Burns, and other local heroes join “the Boss” in reflecting on
the promise this endowment fulfills: that no woman, child, or family in Lwala communities will go without access to
lifesaving health care.

Endowments as a shift in power: for centuries, endowments have built thriving universities, hospitals, and libraries.

Philanthropists trust these institutions with large sums of money, and that money generates steady investment income for years to come.

There is a significant gap, however, in endowments for social change organizations, especially for Black-led nonprofits.

Lwala is at the forefront of the nonprofit sector in its decision to endow the hospital, signaling a shift in ownership
and power back to the founding community.

The story of Lwala Community Hospital
Nearly 17 years ago, a village in Western Kenya was grieving the deaths of two beloved leaders, Margaret and Erastus
Ochieng’.

They were kind and generous neighbors who helped orphaned children with school fees, invited hungry families to share a meal, and seeded a vision for a hospital in their village–all while raising six children of their own.

Tragically, they died of HIV because of a broken health system that wasn’t designed to reach them.

Out of this grief, their community alongside two of their sons, Milton and Fred created Lwala Community Hospital.

As Milton and Fred attended Dartmouth and then Vanderbilt Medical School, they were joined by allies who believed in this vision and provided resources, expertise, and talent to see it through.

Today, 97% of women in the region deliver in a hospital, 98% of children under 5 in the area are fully immunized, and the success rate for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV is 98%.

Lwala Community Hospital is the cornerstone of these changes and has earned its reputation as a center of excellence.

Paving the way for Lwala Community Hospital’s future: each year, it costs $600k for Lwala Community Hospital to provide the highest quality care to communities.

The initial endowment goal of $5 million will create a financial bedrock for Lwala Community Hospital ensuring access
to health care for communities now and into the future.

The vision is that as the hospital reaches more patients and provides more jobs, the endowment will be fully funded, unlocking health care access in the region that will outlive us all.

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