Mid-Shore Health Futures: The Chester River Health Foundation with Maryann Ruehrmund


One thing that Maryann Ruehrmund, the executive director of the Chester River Health Foundation, hadn’t counted on as she developed annual fundraising plans for Chestertown’s UM Shore Medical Center, was the counter-intuitive response to Kent County’s  successful “Save our Hospital” movement.

Rather than see an increase in donations to do just that, the Chestertown River Health Foundation saw a actual decrease in giving starting a few years ago. While there might have been co-factors in the reduction of philanthropy, including, of course, the impact of the Great Recession, the question remained whether the Foundation would be able to continue keeping pace with the ongoing needs of the hospital in Chestertown.

To the great relief to Maryann, and her board of directors, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes.”

With the conclusion of the State of Maryland’s working group on rural hospitals last year, recommending that Shore Medical Center at Chestertown stay permanently open, along with the hospital’s parent, the UM Health System, wholly in support of this finding, there is growing evidence that the Foundation is once again on track in providing meaningful contributions to the hospital’s equipment and capital requirements.

The seeds of the Chester River Health Foundation were sewn in 1992 after a successful, campaign through which the community donated more than $2 million to build a three-story wing and completely modernize the facility. The Foundation was incorporated in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, to provide a source of charitable donations to make state-of-the-art medical equipment, facility improvements and advanced healthcare education for employees, possible. It maintains its mission today, governed by a local, all-volunteer Board of Directors in support of healthcare excellence at the hospital.

The Spy, as part of our continuing series of profiling philanthropy, spent a few minutes with Maryann to talk about why the community’s charitable support is so vital to the long-term vitality of the hospital.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Chester River Health Foundation please go here

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Beryl Smith says

    This year, through a series of unforeseen events, our family compared hospitalization in Chestertown with hospitalization in another hospital. Not only was the staff at Chestertown the friendliest, the accommodations the most comfortable and the care given the most attentive, but it is local! Our medical staff is top-notch, and in order to keep them we need to keep the hospital and continue to provide the necessary equipment that enables them to carry out the necessary procedures. These are reasons why we support Chester River and will continue to do so. Thank goodness for those ladies with buckets in 1935! They did us a great service.

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