Trumbull judge releases $11M for health care services, education

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By William K. Alcorn


Judge Thomas Swift of Trumbull County Probate Court has released restrictions on nearly $11 million held by Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation allowing the funds to be used for a variety of health care and education needs of Trumbull residents.

Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation funds were previously for the exclusive use of Trumbull Memorial Hospital when it was a nonprofit organization and part of Forum Health.

In March 2009, however, Forum Health filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio. During the bankruptcy process, the foundation was dismissed from the proceedings enabling it to pursue a new supporting organization.

Judge Swift’s decision, with the concurrence of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, placed the foundation under the auspices of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

Judge Swift, said, however, the TMHF will continue to make the decisions on how the assets of the trust will be used.

TMHF was incorporated in 1976 as an Ohio nonprofit corporation.

Its primary purpose, according to court documents, was to “maintain, develop, increase and extend the facilities and services of Trumbull Memorial Hospital, so as to provide broader hospital, medical and educational services and opportunities to its patients, medical and house staff, and to the residents of Trumbull County.”

A variety of funds made up the $11 million — the Carolyn Vaught bequest, hospice funds, oncology funds, scholarship funds, golf-outing funds, capital-improvement funds, heart hospital funds, senior-care funds, orthopedic-care funds, Wilber Pediatric Care Fund, unrestricted funds, Healing Garden Fund, diabetes support fund and an art-endowment fund, according to court documents.

Judge Swift’s ruling brings to an end the nearly four-year process of ensuring the money within the TMHF will continue to address its stated purpose for county residents, while also preserving their donor’s intent — a top priority for the foundation’s board, said David Kostolansky, board chairman.

“It is important for our donors and community to know that we have been good stewards of their money,” Kostolansky said. “Every decision that our board made was centered on preserving these funds to be used to support the significant health issues that affect the residents of Trumbull County.”

The foundation is finally through the legal process, and the board will continue its stewardship by beginning a strategic-planning process, he added. The mission will focus on health-care issues in the county, and the board, in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, will meet to determine strategy and process for distribution of the funds moving forward, Kostolansky said.

“The TMHF board is to be commended for its tireless work preserving the endowment for the benefit of the residents of Trumbull County,” said Patricia Brozik, president of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

The CFMV, a public charity, works for the benefit of its donors and nonprofit partners, while encouraging collaborative community efforts across Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Since its inception in 1999, it has provided grants in excess of $15 million to more than 300 charitable and educational institutions.

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