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Holly Place allies step up with a $25,000 challenge

October 08, 2008|By BOB MAGINNIS

Holly Place, the nonprofit assisted living facility that has struggled for years to find funding for its indigent residents, is getting some help from its friends.

According to Doug Wright, the Hagerstown facility's longtime board president, attorney Michael Day and Paul Sweeney, president of Quality First Insurance have offered to match donations up to $5,000.

And, Wright said, a person who must remain anonymous has offered to donate $20,000, if the community will match that amount.

It will be a challenge to raise that cash, Wright said, but no tougher than it has been to keep the facility open since the state began limiting the number of Medicaid waivers a few years ago.

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Holly Place once had two facilities, but now has just one on South Potomac Street. There are now 15 residents, Wright said, adding that "we always have a waiting list."

There are only one or two openings a year, Wright said.

Holly Place took a major hit this year when the Washington County Gaming Commission decided not to provide any funds.

Shortly therafter, Wright said he called Del. John Donoghue and told the General Assembly member that without some help, Holly Place might have to shut its doors.

"John Donoghue really stepped forward," Wright said.

With the help of Donoghue and James Hamill, CEO of Washington County Hospital, a $25,000 grant was obtained from Maryland Physicians Health Care, a managed-care organization.

And with Donoghue's help, Holly Place received a $10,000 grant from the CareFirst Foundation.

But Holly Place isn't out of the woods yet. Wright said that $25,000 grant helped Holly Place close out the previous fiscal year in the black. Funds raised now will go to this year's expenses.

In all, Holly Place must raise $160,000 to cover its annual budget.

That' the bad news. The good news is that people and organizations are stepping up to help.

Wright said a local church gave Holly Place a $4,000 grant, while another has committed $400 per month.

On Sunday, Oct. 19, there will be a basket bingo at ther Boonsboro American Legion on U.S. 40 Alternate. Doors open at 11 a.m. and bingo begins at 1 p.m., Wright said. Tickets cost $15.

Holly's Place, the store on Hagerstown's Public Square, is bringing in about $6,000 annually on sales of gently used clothing.

A summer auction at the Maugansville Ruritan hall brought in $2,000 and a local Lions Club is planning a barbecue sale to benefit Holly Place.

As someone who has raised (some) money for nonprofits, I know how difficult it can be to do many different events.

Holly Place needs one large annual fundraiser, but with so many things going on - and his own business to run - it's been difficult to put one together. Wright said he would welcome ideas, or better, a civic group that would take Holly Place under its wing.

Holly Place also needs state help. As I noted when I wrote about this in 2005, if Holly Place does shut its doors, the residents would likely go to nursing homes.

If that happened, the state's share of the cost for residents' care could double. John Donoghue's efforts are much appreciated, but the entire delegation needs to work on putting together a system that will keep Holly Place in the black.

If you can help, please send your contribution to Holly Place, 268 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. It is tax-deductible.

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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