Mercy Health Foundation reached its $40 million fundraising goal for the Love Family Women’s Center thanks to an early Christmas donation from a generous local family. Mark Davenport and his mother, Pat, together gave $1.5 million to close out the two-year campaign for the women’s center project, the largest fundraising goal in Mercy’s nearly 200-year history.
“This women’s center project will have a direct, lifelong impact on our community,” said Mark Davenport, chairman of Quail Creek Bank. “Having a state-of-the-art dedicated women’s center here in Oklahoma City is a meaningful way my mom and I could honor my three sisters who died early in their lives. This project also allows us to invest in future generations of Oklahomans, including the youngest generation of Davenport girls, all four born at Mercy.”
Over the last 10 years, Mercy has seen a 34% increase in childbirths. The hospital, built in the 1970s, was designed to accommodate up to 3,000 births annually, but the hospital makes room for nearly 4,000 births per year. In the last six months, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City has seen an additional 217 births compared to the same time period in 2020.
The new 175,000-square-foot women’s center will have 30 additional patient rooms, increasing the capacity for deliveries by 40%.
“We started this campaign in December 2019, a few months before the beginning of the pandemic with no idea what was coming,” said Jim Gebhart, community president of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. “Raising $40 million during normal times was a lofty goal, but three months into the campaign, COVID changed everything. We were all suddenly in a time of overwhelming uncertainty, and at times, we really wondered if we’d be able to pull this off.”
Campaign co-chairs Judy Love and Cathy Keating led the way in raising more than $30 million from Oklahoma families and businesses to complete the campaign.
The Tom and Judy Love family, for whom the center is named, gave a $10 million lead donation to kick off the project. The Sunderland Foundation of Kansas, the only out of state donor, gave $7.5 million.
“It’s so fitting that we’re completing this monumental goal around Christmastime,” said Lori Cummins, vice president of Mercy Health Foundation Oklahoma City. “These donors really are helping to create more room in the inn at Mercy. When we look at who is on that list, it’s our Oklahoma neighbors and leaders. This is a project that will impact generations of Oklahoma families because of their support.”
The Love Family Women’s Center will be a four-story building on the campus of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. It will feature an obstetrics emergency department staffed by obstetricians and the state's only hospital-based low intervention birthing center. The unit will be run by accredited midwives who are also registered nurses in collaboration with obstetricians.
The first floor of the building will have a caesarean section unit with three suites that connect to the hospital via the existing hospital surgery suite. This strategic design allows for quick, safe access to additional services if medical emergencies occur during delivery. The second floor will house all labor and delivery suites and an antepartum unit. Postpartum rooms will be on the third floor of the facility that will connect to the hospital via a skybridge, giving mothers of babies needing a higher level of care direct elevator access to the neonatal intensive care unit on the fifth floor.
Mercy will serve women of all ages at the Love Family Women’s Center and have a dedicated area for women recovering from surgeries. Outpatient therapy services, specifically pelvic floor therapy, will also be offered. A large conference center will host support groups and classes on everything from childbirth, infant care, CPR and more.
Construction kicked off in July and is expected to be complete in fall 2023.
Donations by the numbers:
- 7 donors gave more than $1 million
- 4 donors gave $500,000
- 4 donors gave between $250,000 and $500,000
- 13 donors gave between $100,000 and $250,000
- 7 donors gave between $50,000 and $100,000
- 35 donors gave $50,000