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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Physician giving grows over 50 years

Margit Bretzke, MD, and Bob Scott, MD

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Nearly half a century ago, several physicians at Abbott Northwestern Hospital learned the Minneapolis park system needed new athletic gear so kids could play sports. So a group of doctors called some of their colleagues and raised something approaching $10,000.

“That was their only source of getting new equipment,” says Bob Scott, MD, who helped lead the effort. “Now, 50 years later, we’re still giving money to the park system, and the park system is still very grateful.”

Since then, physicians have donated money for many causes, says the now retired Scott. To raise the money, doctors would get together one or two evenings a year and make phone calls, he says.

Now, these efforts have been formalized and expanded under the Plus One Physicians Giving Program of the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation. Doctors contributed nearly $227,000 in 2011 and have donated nearly $735,000 since 2007.

“The medical staff has been much more responsive,” says Scott, who credits the Plus One program with that. “That’s been terrific.”

Margit Bretzke, MD, who recently finished 10 years on the Foundation board, says the program streamlines solicitations, allows doctors to designate their funds and likely increases donations.

Giving is important because it builds community, helps further medical research and shows loyalty to a doctor’s hospital. “I think it’s important for physicians to buy in to their hospital,” Bretzke says