Greenwich’s Dalio Foundation pledges $1 million for Witherell

The Nathaniel Witherell has launched the capital campaign to benefit Project Renew and it’s off to a promising start.

The campaign is a drive to modernize and refurbish the short-term rehabilitation and long-term nursing care center and Project Renew has some serious local support after the Dalio Foundation pledged $1 million to the project, the largest donation in Nathaniel Witherell’s history.

This gift has brought the $7 million Project Renew campaign to the half-way mark, and has inspired the creation of the Half-Way Home Challenge to raise an additional $1.5 million by April 30.

“We are extremely excited about this most generous gift and are deeply grateful to the Dalio Foundation, which has demonstrated, in the finest sense, what it means to be involved and engaged in our community,” said David Ormsby, chairman of The Friends of Nathaniel Witherell. “Their gift is an outstanding example of the Dalio family’s tradition of giving back to the Greenwich community.”

Debby Lash, co-chair of Project Renew with Karen Sadik-Khan and Mr. Ormsby, commented that the Foundation gift has added considerable momentum to the Campaign. “The $1 million grant is the most exciting moment of our Campaign,” she said, in a press release. “It is stimulating enormous interest and enthusiasm in Project Renew. We are absolutely thrilled.”

Project Renew will improve the infrastructure and environment at Nathaniel Witherell by increasing the number of private rooms from 26 to 64, eliminating 10 four-bedded rooms, and remodeling and redecorating 86 resident rooms. Public space will also be enhanced. Plans call for doubling the size of the rehab center, increasing the number of family reception areas, modernizing three existing elevators and adding an elevator and new emergency generator, along with other upgrades to the facility. The architectural and engineering design for Project Renew seeks to reflect sensitivity to the Witherell’s historic significance.

In August 2010, the Nathaniel Witherell campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, a listing which just ended up paying off with a tax break for Greenwich allowing the town’s municipal budget to be lowered.

Total construction costs are projected at $26 million, with the State of Connecticut providing up to $12 million over a 20-year period. The Friends of Nathaniel Witherell is committed to raising at least $7 million. The remaining costs will be paid for by the Town of Greenwich. Completion of Project Renew is presently scheduled for the first week in July.

“The Nathaniel Witherell is a beloved and cherished institution in Greenwich and a symbol of our Town’s community spirit and pride,” said Mr. Ormsby, in a press release. “It has served our citizens well for more than a century. Project Renew will ensure that it continues to serve our needs for years to come.”

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