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  #1  
Old 04-09-2009, 06:28 PM
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Hard times for charities

Facing hard times, Shriners may close 6 hospitals

By KATRINA A. GOGGINS, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 35 mins ago

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Shriners hospitals, which have provided free care since before the Great Depression, are considering closing a quarter of their facilities as donations stagnate, costs increase and the charity's endowment shrivels.
The group's director says it's the only viable option.
Officials at the Florida-based organization say it is siphoning $1 million a day from its endowment to balance the budget for 22 hospitals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Meanwhile, they say, that fund has fallen to $5 billion from $8 billion in less than a year because of the sputtering stock market and a charitable giving slump that has hurt philanthropies nationwide. The fund has been declining since 2001. The group will vote this summer on the closures.
"Unless we do something, the clock is ticking and within five to seven years we'll probably be out of the hospital business and not have any hospitals," Ralph Semb, chief executive officer of Shriners Hospitals for Children, told The Associated Press.
In cities where hospitals may close, supporters and hospital staff are scheduling fundraisers and posting online messages of support on social networking Web sites.
In Greenville, S.C., Bridget Myers and her daughter are turning to churches and friends, collecting money in a bucket tagged with pictures of X-rays and Shriners patients.
"I've collected $92 dollars in two days," said Brooklynn Myers, 14, who received scoliosis treatment at the Shriners' Greenville hospital. "Me and my mom feel like it's heartbreaking we'd have to drive all the way to Lexington (Kentucky) and we've made special bonds here."
Widely known today for burn and orthopedic care for children, the Shriners Hospitals system opened in 1922 with a facility in Shreveport, La., that specialized in treating polio. By the 1960s, the group had hospitals nationwide and expanded its care to include spinal cord injury rehabilitation, cleft lip and palate care and medical research.
More than 1 million children have been treated at the hospitals, which were created by the fraternal organization of the same name whose members are known for wearing red fezzes and driving miniature cars in parades. The care is free to all.
In 2007, the fraternal group was hit with accusations it used money intended for the hospitals to throw parties — but only a fraction of the hospitals' funds are raised by the group. Most of the money to operate the hospitals has come from interest from the endowment, Semb said.
Semb said this year's operating budget for the hospital system is $856 million. The budget has risen by $100 million each of the past two years while donation levels remained static, he said.
Last month, the Shiners' board of trustees voted to close four of the group's eight research centers and lay off about 40 people at its administrative office.
At the organization's annual meeting July 6-8 in San Antonio, about 1,200 Shriners will vote whether to close hospitals in Shreveport, La.; Erie, Pa.; Spokane, Wash.; Springfield, Mass., and Greenville. Semb said they were chosen mainly because of too many vacant beds. Patients would be sent to other Shriners hospitals that specialize in their ailments.
The organization also will consider whether a hospital in Galveston, Texas — closed temporarily after damage from Hurricane Ike — will remain shuttered.
"The outlook is not good, but we know that we can right it," Semb said. "And we can within a five-year period of time get our expenses down far enough to equal the income we have coming in and hopefully start building on that endowment fund."
Closing these hospitals is the only viable option, Semb said. While members will also consider keeping all 22 facilities open — or a nationwide 30 percent budget cut — Semb contends doing either would be a death knell to the organization. He said to continue functioning as they do now with all the hospitals open, Shriners would have to grow the endowment to about $12 billion by 2014 — unlikely, given the economy and nationwide trend toward less large-sum charitable giving.
Fewer groups and individuals gave gifts of more than $1 million in 2007 compared to 2008, and such donations fell even more in the final two quarters of last year, according to preliminary findings of a study due out this summer from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Even when giving was more robust — from 1991 to 2005 — gifts to health care groups grew at a much slower rate than those for other entities, like universities, said Melissa Brown, associate director of research for the center.
She said the aging of once-prominent fraternal organizations might be affecting their ability to grow donations. "It could be that what they are seeing is a generational shift," Brown said.
Getting the two-thirds majority needed to close the hospitals will not be easy, Semb said.
Patients and their families are vowing to rally at the annual meeting. And some Shiners who have spent years raising money and volunteering say they'll oppose the move. They've done it before: A plan to close hospitals in 2003 was quickly voted down despite warnings of financial problems.
In Greenville, letters of support from patients cover the wall of one hallway at the 50-bed hospital.
Jason Burbage, who was born with no fingers, has been going to Shriners Hospitals since he was born in 1976 — first as a patient and now as a volunteer to give encouragement to patients. The work has become more difficult because of the financial troubles, he said.
"We don't want the patients to focus on it," said Burbage, a 33-year-old Greenville businessman. "It's not a done deal."

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  #2  
Old 04-09-2009, 07:14 PM
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I give to the Shriner's quite often. It would be a sad day for the kids if this happens.
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  #3  
Old 04-09-2009, 07:57 PM
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Not to worry, the Atheists will soon be opening medical charities.
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- Ronald Reagan
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2009, 08:17 AM
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+1 - welcome back Bot

+2 - My sister is a Nurse here in Cincinnati and she painted a picture that the Shriner's hospital was the best hospital to work for. Sounds like a story of how to do things right.

But I'm biased, I support other non-atheist charities as well =)

Hope they can pull through.


-John
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:35 AM
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#1.) Hey Bot!!!! The FL*** welcomes you BACK!!!!

#2.) Who won the "bet?" I had you for mid-June...I didn't see what anyone else had...

Don't let the bedbugs bite you so hard this time...I'm still recovering from my bites...and mine will be with me 'til November...

But, I'm feeling much better now....

Anyways, thanks for the "update" on the SHs...

I wonder if the Jerry Lewis Telethon will be experiencing any downturn this up-coming Labor Day holiday...

If we miss it, I'm sure you'll keep us up to date!

Again...welcome back!
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:46 AM
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Don't worry he's not back.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan View Post
Don't worry he's not back.
Got me!!!

I didn't look in the corner...
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M. G. Burg
'10 - Dakota SXT - Daily Ride / ≈ 172.5K
.'76 - 450SLC - 107.024.12 / < .89.20 K
..'77 - 280E - 123.033.12 / > 128.20 K
...'67 - El Camino - 283ci / > 207.00 K
....'75 - Yamaha - 650XS / < 21.00 K
.....'87 - G20 Sportvan / > 206.00 K
......'85 - 4WINNS 160 I.O. / 140hp
.......'74 - Honda CT70 / Real 125

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  #8  
Old 07-28-2009, 01:52 PM
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I did my internship for medical photography at Shriners Hospital and this is indeed sad news. Next time I need to pay attention to the dates...
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Last edited by Mistress; 07-28-2009 at 02:08 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2009, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgburg View Post
Got me!!!

I didn't look in the corner...
He did, however sneak in a one word post yesterday in another thread!

I forget which.
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  #10  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:04 AM
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When healthcare becomes available to all, institutions such as this will largely slip into the past. The loss will be profound on a number of levels, but the gain will be far more profound.
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  #11  
Old 07-29-2009, 10:40 AM
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You all have seen the picture of the Shriner carrying the little girl and her crutches. I used to work with the photographer who took that now famous picture. He was the photo editor at the Kentucky Post for awhile. Nice guy, good shooter and editor. The picture was a spur-of-the-moment type thing at the end of the day. He was walking back to his car to go home, saw the scene and just snapped the shot. It just said everything without a word.
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  #12  
Old 07-29-2009, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobK View Post
You all have seen the picture of the Shriner carrying the little girl and her crutches. I used to work with the photographer who took that now famous picture. He was the photo editor at the Kentucky Post for awhile. Nice guy, good shooter and editor. The picture was a spur-of-the-moment type thing at the end of the day. He was walking back to his car to go home, saw the scene and just snapped the shot. It just said everything without a word.
I got photographed one time at a "Cubs' Day" Boy Scout camp back in the 60s...it ended up on a United Way Campaign Brochure...

Our "pack" had been sent over to the archery range and while we all sat and listened to the ranger officer explain the dos and don'ts of arrows, kids and soft tissue wounds, there was some guy running around shooting pics of us kids...I didn't even pay attention to the guy 'cause I'm thinking I'm about to shoot 5 arrows with real tips at real targets...

My turn comes up along with 4 others from my "den" - we all get up on line, when all of a sudden, this strange guy comes up to me and starts "acting" like I need some sort of help nocking the arrow and getting ready to draw and shoot...he's reaching in on my hands like I'm some uncoordinated 8yo and I'm trying to shoot my 5 arrows with this dorkus in my face and on my back...

My "den" gets their 5 arrows off and I'm still trying to get this creep off from me, when I see this photographer off to the right of me, shooting away and I still have this hands-on creep on my back and trying to mimic my movements like I need some help to pull a 25# draw bow.

Short story getting shortened...I end up getting only ONE F***ING ARROW "off" (about 10' from me) and then we (the "den") have the bows and material taken from us, then we end up heading back to the "pack area" - and I'm pissed like no one knew!!!

I had no idea who sent "Mr. Hands" in towards me for "help" that I didn't need and I'm just steaming mad about the whole situation, but I had no idea who to complain to...and besides, since it was the end of the day, I knew they weren't going to go back to the range just to let me shoot off 4 more arrows...so I gave up being pissed....

Then, about 6 months later...

I'm walking into my class room when all of a sudden, the teachers are out in the hall, then a few come in the classroom and they're looking at/for me...they spy me in the back and instead of saying anything...a few of them start laughing and saying stuff like "He looks just like the picture..."

HUH??? WTFLOCK???

Then, it comes....

The tri-fold brochure for the Fall '66 United Way Campaign, complete with a 6-picture color montage on the front fold featuring various examples of the goods works that the United Way provides funding for...including local Cub Scout groups...and as an example of the local Cub Scouts...little ol' me...8yo, armed and pissed, cottonball in my right ear (I had just finished having middle ear surgery that spring...so the other thing I COULDN'T F'ING DO WAS SWIM THAT SUMMER!!!! (ALSO, ANOTHER NON-EVENT FOR ME AT "CUB DAY" THAT PARTICULAR DAY!!!!)) and some MOFO hanging on me like a wet blanket...I ended up being a poster-boy for some organization I never heard of and I'm willing to bet that that freak that was hanging on me was some member of the UW Organization.

That SOB is lucky he never knew how close he was to being the newly-found representative for the good works United Way provides for arrow-blinded nimrods who piss off 8yos!!

When my mother found out, she went out and got about 30 or 40 of these "brochures" to hand out to friends and neighbors...she didn't even know what had happened...I was so pissed about the incident, I didn't even mention it to her and anyone else, so my mom's going around like this is the greatest thing to happen...

My mother's so proud and all and I'm like "Hey! They pissed me off! Why are you so happy?"

Maybe that's why everyone needs to have "releases" signed before folks go using your image on advertising and such...I don't remember signing anything, but I know I wanted to carve something into the chests of "Mr. Hands" and his photographer-friend...

Ahhh...I feel better....

Now I know why I have these adverse feelings towards the United Way...

Time to see a therapist...
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M. G. Burg
'10 - Dakota SXT - Daily Ride / ≈ 172.5K
.'76 - 450SLC - 107.024.12 / < .89.20 K
..'77 - 280E - 123.033.12 / > 128.20 K
...'67 - El Camino - 283ci / > 207.00 K
....'75 - Yamaha - 650XS / < 21.00 K
.....'87 - G20 Sportvan / > 206.00 K
......'85 - 4WINNS 160 I.O. / 140hp
.......'74 - Honda CT70 / Real 125

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“I didn’t really say everything I said.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~ Yogi Berra ~

Last edited by mgburg; 07-30-2009 at 10:01 AM. Reason: spelling errors
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  #13  
Old 07-29-2009, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynalow View Post
He did, however sneak in a one word post yesterday in another thread! ... I forget which.
Yah...it was "SNAKE IN THE WATER" - that's where I saw it first...and someone "wanted" the moderator to ban him already...

Those one-word descriptives sure can be taken too seriously!!!

Anyways, he's back and hopefully rested up for the next round of battling the inane...

Or, at least providing some levity where it's so sorely needed...Carleton Hughes can't tow the whole boat up the canal by himself!!!

__________________
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.
M. G. Burg
'10 - Dakota SXT - Daily Ride / ≈ 172.5K
.'76 - 450SLC - 107.024.12 / < .89.20 K
..'77 - 280E - 123.033.12 / > 128.20 K
...'67 - El Camino - 283ci / > 207.00 K
....'75 - Yamaha - 650XS / < 21.00 K
.....'87 - G20 Sportvan / > 206.00 K
......'85 - 4WINNS 160 I.O. / 140hp
.......'74 - Honda CT70 / Real 125

.
“I didn’t really say everything I said.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~ Yogi Berra ~
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  #14  
Old 07-30-2009, 08:07 AM
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Mgburg: yeah, gotta have photo releases nowadays. Shooter was just doing his job. Guy helping you was of course just helping himself look good and get in the picture. I think the folks in the Shriners picture were all cool with it. I'm kinda surprised the guy helping you didn't wind up with puncture wound to foot.
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  #15  
Old 07-30-2009, 08:46 AM
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I can say with all certainty that if there is a loss of a single Shriner's Hospital, that it is a loss that will be felt deeply.

The care they give to children and burn victims, free of charge, and how they treat the victim's families is second to none. I have supported, and will continue to do so, for many years.

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