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Emerson Foundation Challenge Completes WRI Funding

Nazareth College has successfully met a challenge from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation of Auburn, N.Y., that provided the final $300,000 needed to complete funding of the $16.5 million Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute (WRI) now being built.

Issued in early April, when the College was approximately $1 million away from its fundraising goal, the Emerson Foundation challenged Nazareth to raise $700,000 before Sept. 1, 2014, to secure the challenge funding that would complete the project.

“When we accepted the Emerson Foundation Challenge, we had some trepidation about meeting their terms in such a short time frame,” notes Kelly Gagan, vice president for institutional advancement. “However, we began telling people about the challenge and about how the new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute would enhance both the education of students in our School of Health and Human Services and the services we are able to provide for uninsured people in our community. As a result, trustees, friends, alumni, faculty, and staff generously stepped forward. The challenge generated $880,735 in new gift commitments, which enabled us to greatly exceed our goal.”

“Nazareth offers such a unique mix of health and human services programs—art therapy, music therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, and speech-language pathology,” says Anthony D. Franceschelli, president of the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.  “Our foundation is proud to help bring them under one roof—literally—to enhance collaboration, expand the number of students trained in these important fields, and serve more area residents needing care.”

The final gift that put the funding initiative over the top came from M&T Bank, a longtime supporter of Nazareth College.

“Our local team decided this was an important project to support because it will help our community succeed in a number of ways,” says M&T Bank Rochester Region President Dan Burns. “The new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute helps Nazareth reach an important development goal, while also providing innovative new opportunities for local students to train for health and human services jobs.”

Scheduled to open in fall 2015, the Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute builds on Nazareth’s existing strengths to create an innovative, world-class model for education and health care. It significantly expands the College’s ability to meet the demand for highly qualified health care professionals capable of leading in today’s rapidly changing medical environment, and brings together academic and clinical programs to collaborate, creating a distinctive model for the education of health and human service professionals. The institute allows Nazareth’s School of Health and Human Services to significantly expand enrollments in vital health profession programs, increase opportunities for students to be involved in research designed to improve clinical practice, and enhance opportunities for underserved members of our community to access quality therapy services.

The Fred L. Emerson Foundation is a private family foundation established in 1932 by Fred L. Emerson. The Foundation provides support to not-for-profit organizations in Auburn, New York and the surrounding Central New York area where its founder lived and worked.

physical therapy students