CFNEM Fund provides $500,000 for MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena

The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan has given a $500,000 grant to support training for staff on a new software system for MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena.

The grant comes from the Alpena Regional Medical Center Endowment Fund at CFNEM. This fund was originally established in 1990 by the late Lucas and Janet Pfeiffenberger for the purpose of supporting Alpena General Hospital or whatever nonprofit hospital serves the residents of Northeast Michigan.

The Pfeiffenbergers wanted the fund to be used for the purchase of new technology, equipment replacement, continuing educational needs, improving services to meet the needs of the community and other hospital board-designated projects.

“This fund is a great example not only of the power of endowments, but also of the flexibility in giving options that an organization like the Community Foundation can provide for its donors,” said Patrick Heraghty, CFNEM executive director. “The Pfeiffenbergers wanted to support the local hospital and wanted the hospital’s board to have the power to request funds as needed, but they also wanted to ensure that the funds would always stay local for the benefit of Northeast Michigan. Even though ownership of the hospital has changed, this fund is still serving its purpose as the Pfeiffenbergers intended.”

Established with an original gift of $10,000, the hospital’s development council worked diligently with its donors and supporters to build this fund that had been created for its benefit, with a goal of reaching $1 million before they would request a grant. In 2001, the fund reached $1 million, and in 2007 the first grant was requested by the hospital’s board in the amount of $162,000 to purchase one of two hyperbaric chambers.

The $500,000 grant from the Alpena Regional Medical Center Endowment Fund is being used to train more than 1,000 physicians and staff members within MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena on a sophisticated electronic medical record system called “Epic.”

The Medical Center’s Vice President of Finance and IT Services George Smart said the new system offers faster, more accurate communication, streamlined processes and cost-saving efficiencies. The overall cost for implementation in Alpena is approximately $20 million.

“Without our affiliation with MidMichigan Health, we would not have had access to Epic due to the size of our organization,” said Karmon Bjella, president of MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. “This system will not only help staff but will offer patients more seamless transitions interdepartmentally and to other institutions should they need to be seen elsewhere. Their records will follow them, cutting down on repetitive testing and paperwork. We’re lucky to have it.”

The Alpena Regional Medical Center Endowment Fund was established as a “Designated Fund” at the Community Foundation. Designated funds are those created by a donor for the specific benefit of a particular agency, or group of agencies. These types of funds allow a donor to support a nonprofit’s mission while allowing the nonprofit itself to use the funds as it needs.

CFNEM is a charitable organization committed to providing people who care about the future of our area with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come. Led by a volunteer board of local citizens, the foundation oversees a group of permanent endowment funds from a wide range of donors.

Gifts of all sizes from individuals, families and corporations are invested in a balanced, well-managed portfolio to build endowments, enabling support for local community nonprofits now and forever. To make a donation or learn more about how community foundations work, visit or call 354-6881 or toll-free at 877-354-6881.