A Monumental Pledge
In 2011, the Village Improvement Association of Doylestown (VIA) made a five-year, $1 million commitment to help fund the expansion and renovation of labor, delivery and postpartum facilities at Doylestown Hospital. Funds raised at the Bucks County Designer House & Gardens from 2011-2015 would be earmarked to complete the pledge.
The Designer House is the largest fund raising activity of the VIA and supports Doylestown Health and various VIA community projects. Each year for the past five years, a dedicated group of women helped the VIA realize and ultimately exceed its original commitment.
"For over 120 years, the VIA has been actively raising funds to support its mission to enhance the quality of life in Central Bucks County," said 2015 Designer House chair Jean Upton. "The 2015 Designer House Committee is proud to continue this effort with this final installment of our million dollar pledge. We would like to thank all our community sponsors, supporters, and guests for helping us achieve this goal."
Determination Pays Off
Meeting challenges is nothing new for the VIA. The organization was founded in 1895 by a small, but inspired, group of women from Doylestown. They came together to address a growing community concern: dust from the streets was affecting people's respiratory health, so they decided to do something about it. They hired a farmer to wet down the streets to keep the dust in check. Firmly rooted in promoting the health of local residents, the VIA was the guiding force behind the founding of Doylestown Hospital in 1923 and still oversees the governance of the hospital, the flagship of the Doylestown Health system.
In 2012, maternity services at Doylestown Hospital adopted a new name to reflect the long-standing tradition and influence of women on healthcare services in the community. The name VIA Maternity Center honors the impact of the women's organization that continues to work on behalf of the community. The renovations to the center were completed in Fall 2013.
On November 3, Jean Upton, 2015 Designer House chair, presented a check in the amount of $241,283 to Doylestown Health CEO Jim Brexler. This check completes and exceeds the original $1 million commitment to the hospital and brings the total pledge contribution to $1,041, 283.
Meeting Community Needs
The VIA Maternity Center is not the sole beneficiary of recent Designer House funds. Just like it has done each year of the Designer House's existence, the VIA also distributes funds to support various community initiatives such as women's scholarships, support for veterans and community welfare, a committee that learns of needs of local residents who could use a helping hand. For example, it might provide funds to pay the heating bill for a family in need, or pay for car repairs so a struggling parent can go to work.
Funds also support maintenance of the James-Lorah Memorial Home. The home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was given to the VIA in 1954 from one of its original founders, Sarah M. James. It is the base of operations for the VIA and provides a place for its members to do their important work.
Work for the 2016 Designer House has already begun. Watch for more details in the coming months.
Learn more about the VIA Maternity Center
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