Support services for local foundations

Did you know… Dozens of resources, back-office support services and subject matter expertise are provided free-of-charge to the local foundations? This support alleviates the expenses and burden of labor-intensive work and administrative tasks on the local teams so the staff can remain focused on securing individual major gifts, corporate and foundation giving, grants and planned gifts.


For market foundations without dedicated grant professionals, the grants team provides expertise and support to help identify grant opportunities for local needs, apply for grants on behalf of the local foundations and manage funding and grant compliance reporting. For foundation offices with local grant professionals, the grants team can share expertise, opportunities and oversee compliance.

Among other successes to date in 2023, the grants team has secured grant awards totaling $30,713,419. Mercy Serves is an example of a grant that has been renewed for our Cincinnati market to expand the program in 2024 to help BSMH address pressing community health needs.

Mercy Serves is a service-learning program where AmeriCorps members work alongside Mercy Health nurses, providers and social workers to ensure that patients receive necessary support and resources to make healthy choices and encourage behavior change.  As a part of our broader opioid epidemic response, Mercy Serves AmeriCorps members provide patient education, substance use risk screening, emotional support and referrals to treatment and social services in emergency departments throughout Cincinnati. With additional grant funding, all service member openings have been filled for the 2023-2024 program year so the program can expand to incorporate the Social Determinants of Health screening.


Solutions Group

This team covers what is commonly referred to as back-office functions. Team members are dedicated to focus areas of expertise and trained on the processes and software systems specific to their role. In its entirety, the Solutions Group team covers responsibilities for finance, budget, performance reporting, donor/prospect research and analytics, database management, gift processing, gift acknowledgments and receipting, mailing lists, fund management and distributions, and more. These time-intensive services are provided to the local foundations free-of-charge, allowing foundation presidents and frontline fundraisers to spend more time cultivating donors.

A few of Solutions Groups achievements year-to-date include:

  • 111,338 donations recorded, deposited and acknowledged
  • 4,692,073 patients and prospective donors screened for wealth and giving capacity to help gift officers prioritize their time and actions
  • 709 major gift level prospective donors assigned to gift officer portfolios
  • Over 1,550 separate funds and endowments or other temporarily/permanently restricted funds managed, including reporting and payment distributions
  • Prepared application for BSMH Foundation to achieve the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy High Performer status for the fifth year in a row
  • Implemented Workday Grants software to support efficient grant tracking, reporting and compliance
  • Implemented and piloted a philanthropic referral option within Epic (electronic health record) to notify the Foundation of grateful patients/families
  • Expanded the online funding transfer portal to all markets to streamline fund disbursements
  • Built online Grant Application portals for markets and Community Health to accept internal and external requests for funding
  • Improved efficient delivery of operating performance reporting and financial statements from 52% to 87%


Annual Programs

This team produces a full complement of annual giving related fundraising campaigns and donor communications via high volume one-to-many channels like direct mail, email, web and video. Communications strategy is targeted to donors and key acquisition audiences like patients and associates to win new donors, keep current donors and lift existing donors to give more and more often.

Local foundations benefit from data-driven, research-based strategies and content delivered through a comprehensive communications plan. It would cost a market foundation at least $286,000 a year to replicate the full complement of donor experience tactics produced by Annual Programs.

Annual Programs coordinates more than 50 ongoing initiatives, including:

  • event planning logistics for markets’ fundraising and stewardship events (54 events supported YTD)
  • produce quarterly direct response campaigns and donor stewardship newsletters via mail/email/social media
  • coordinate the ministry-wide Give for Good associate campaign (over $1.7 million YTD)
  • manage extensive digital infrastructure for web, email and online giving
  • professionally produce print and video stories featuring donor/patient/beneficiary testimonials, and more.

Some Annual Programs statistics year-to-date:

  • 120+ videos on Foundation’s YouTube channel, including new foundation overview videos like this one from Lorain
  • 128 versions of mailings and 357,359 mail pieces produced and sent (appeals, patient acquisition appeals, newsletters, Give for Good, planned giving, stewardship)
  • Acquired 913 new donors through monthly patient acquisition appeal campaigns
  • Produced 497 email versions and sent 1,266,370 emails (Foundation Update, appeals, patient acquisition appeals, Give for Good, planned giving, stewardship stories and videos, market e-blast requests)
  • 6,378 phone calls completed (new donor thank you calls, birthday calls, 800 number inquiries)
  • 171 Facebook posts on Foundation and BSMH accounts
  • 37 videos completed (beneficiary impact, donor testimonials, market foundation overviews)
  • Manage 132 online donation forms and gift receipt emails, along with 371 online fund designations
  • Manage 18 Foundation websites on 4 separate platforms, including online Supporter Center and planned giving informational site
  • Placed 206 beneficiary impact and donor testimonial stories on


Planned Giving

Brad Blandin, Vice President of Charitable Estate Planning, provides technical expertise and a broad knowledge base on many planned giving and complex gift strategies. He assists market Foundations and gift officers with information to share with prospective planned giving donors and can be part of the cultivation and solicitation process alongside gift officers as further support for the local teams. He coordinates communications strategies to help identify donors who are interested in planned giving opportunities and gift types.

Some notable planned giving activity and successes have taken place through the end of October:

  • Growth in planned gift commitments, realized planned gifts, and ongoing active conversations regarding potential planned gift commitments with donors throughout the ministry, and more donors discussing and making complex gifts of assets.
  • Assisted market foundations with claiming and processing 22 realized planned gifts from deceased donors, totaling approximately $1,900,000. An additional 11 planned gifts from deceased donors are in process, totaling over $285,000.
  • Secured planned gift commitments from 8 donors, with an aggregate value of $4,174,000. Anticipate $2-3 million more in commitments by end of year from donors we are currently working with.
  • Increased interest in gifts of real estate in Lima. Assisted a family with the gift portion of a $1 million bargain sale of commercial real estate to Mercy Health – Lima and are working with another family on a bargain sale. Another Lima donor is working with us to donate several undeveloped residential lots, which the Foundation will sell and use the proceeds for a program specified by the donor.
  • In Lorain, finalizing real estate gift valued at $2.6 million and a separate $2.4 million facility naming opportunity gift.
  • Completing merger of St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation in the Toledo market and Rappahannock General Hospital Foundation in Richmond market into the BSMH Foundation as part of the local market Foundations.
  • Recorded our first planned giving educational video on beneficiary designations as a resource for board members and staff. More videos on popular planned giving and complex gift topics will be produced soon.
  • Sent first planned giving mail/email campaign to donors and board members, generating positive feedback and interest from several donors.
  • Launched new planned giving website with extensive information on popular planned and asset gifts. The site can be accessed from or directly at