Saint Barnabas Medical Center received the largest single donation in its history — a stunning multimillion-dollar gift from the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation that will go toward the construction of a new wing at the Livingston hospital.
The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation has pledged $25 million to the project.
"Leon and Toby Cooperman have provided the instrumental stimulus to engage the community for the successful future of Saint Barnabas Medical Center," Barnabas Health Chief Executive Barry H. Ostrowsky said. "The Cooperman family's generosity is unparalleled in our history and assures our neighbors of the importance and magnitude of this project. We are exceptionally grateful."
The gift represents the cornerstone of a strategic vision to create a new 200,000-square-foot, five-floor Cooperman Family Pavilion.
Dr. John F. Bonamo, the chief executive of Saint Barnabas Medical Center, said the gift will help Saint Barnabas maintain its lofty goals and standards.
"We are determined to build on our exceptional reputation by developing a world-class infrastructure that represents the level of excellence our patients deserve and have come to expect from Saint Barnabas," he said. "We are tremendously honored and fortunate to have the support of Leon and Toby Cooperman."
Leon Cooperman has been involved with the medical center for nearly three decades, first as a trustee and then as chairman of the Saint Barnabas Medical Center Foundation, where he now serves as chairman emeritus.
"Mr. Cooperman has been incredibly generous to the medical center with his time, expertise and financial resources," Bonamo said. "We are grateful for his vision, inspiration and guidance throughout the years."
The Coopermans have signed on to the Warren Buffett Giving Pledge, an initiative by the legendary investor to increase charitable giving by the wealthy. The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
"Next to my children and grandchildren, helping others is the most enjoyable part of life," Cooperman said.
For Cooperman, the gift made sense.
"Over the years, our family has benefited from the excellent care provided by the medical center," he said. "We are thrilled to be in a position to make this gift.
"Saint Barnabas Medical Center is very important to our family. More than ever, hospitals need the support of private citizens to assure their continued provision of quality medical care to the communities they serve, and I encourage others to follow my lead."
Cooperman is a former general partner of the investment firm Goldman Sachs, where he had a 25-year career before launching his own private investment firm, Omega Advisors.
Toby Cooperman recently retired from a career as a special-education specialist at the Early Childhood Learning Center in Chatham.
The Cooperman Family Pavilion will feature a floor dedicated to a new neonatal intensive care unit and new units on three floors with all private rooms. Construction is planned to begin in the second quarter of 2015 and be completed in the second quarter of 2018.
The ground floor will offer cardiac, vascular, pulmonary and electroencephalography diagnostic services in a location convenient for outpatients. Other key elements of the overall West Wing Initiative will include a new expanded surgery center, a parking garage that connects to the new building and two new parking areas on campus that will be designed to provide better access for patients and visitors.
Saint Barnabas Medical Center celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015.
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