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History

Founded in 1969, the LMH Health Foundation has a rich history serving LMH Health and the Lawrence community. Read a few of our highlights below. 


January 17, 1921

Lawrence Memorial Hospital opens its doors at Third and Maine streets in a renovated frame house.


1929

Elizabeth Miller Watkins funded the construction of LMH's original 50-bed building, which opened in 1929 and was the pride of the community.


1965-1969

LMH decides to create an endowment association as a formal way to manage donations and bequests.

Dr. Phillip Godwin, LMH chief of staff in the late 1960s, worked with KU Endowment President Dolph Simons, Sr., to start an endowment for LMH.


Oct. 22, 1969

Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association (LMHEA) was incorporated by

  • Dr. Monti Belot, an internist
  • Anne “Petey” Cerf, an involved and generous community member
  • Dr. Phillip Godwin, an anesthesiologist and family physician
  • Dr. Laurence Price, a pathologist
  • Dr. Ralph R. Reed, an internist.

1975

LMHEA receives its first two major donations:

  • The Lawrence Women’s Club gave LMHEA its unused building and property on the northwest corner of 20th and Massachusetts streets.
  • The Combest family left LMHEA half of a 160-acre farm through a bequest.

LMHEA then sold the properties, the farm by sealed bids, and made its first award to LMH of $35,000 to buy equipment for its new hospital building.


1975

LMHEA holds first fund drive.


1977

LMH opens a 200-bed building.


1978

LMHEA begins investing assets and introduces a planned-giving program.


1982

LMHEA hosts the first annual Penny Jones Open Golf Tournament, its first and longest-running fundraising event. The tournament was named in honor of Dr. H. Penfield Jones, a long-time Lawrence physician.


1992

LMHEA assets grow to $1 million, a long-awaited goal.


1993

The first Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer dance raises money for women unable to afford mammograms.


1999

LMHEA hosts the first biennial Hearts of Gold Ball and raises $65,000.


2003

Hearts of Gold Ball raises $440,000 to build the Bob Billings Cardiac Evaluation Center, honoring the popular Lawrence developer and philanthropist who served as an LMHEA Board of Governors member board president.


2007

LMHEA raises more than $8 million, completing its first capital campaign to support a $45 million expansion project at LMH.


2007

Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Awards established.


2011

KU basketball legend Mario Chalmers cuts the ribbon to open Mario’s Closet at LMH, a specialty shop for cancer patients.


2011

Jamie’s Wish, founded in memory of Jamie Pursley, donates $120,000 to LMHEA to improve 15 infusion rooms in the LMH Oncology Center.


2012

Hearts of Gold ball hosts more than 600 people and raises more than $350,000 to fund second floor north medical unit renovations.


2012

The Family Birthing Center is renamed in honor of the late Cindy Murray, longtime LMH maternity nurse and childbirth education advocate, after her husband Tom makes a major memorial donation to LMHEA.


2015

Rock the Block – Kick Cancer replaces Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer event and raises $83,000 for mammograms and equipment, services and pharmaceuticals for cancer patients.


2016

4th Floor Rehabilitation renovations completed with $12 million in support from LMHEA.


2017

LMHEA contributes $1.2 million toward LMH’s cardiac catheterization lab. It is the first system of its kind to be implemented in a community hospital in the United States.


2018

LMH rebrands and begins using the name “LMH Heath” to better represent what the organization had grown to encompass.


2019

LMH Endowment Association formally becomes LMH Health Foundation.

LMH Health Foundation announces a record transfer of support to LMH Health, totaling $3.5 million.