There’s always a backstory. And when it comes to a capital campaign, it’s a story that has been years in the making. Such was the case with the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge coming to North Texas.
Plans were announced in October 2012 by then-Baylor Health Care System President/CEO Joel Allison that “Baylor had been selected as not only the location of the newest Hope Lodge but also as the regional headquarters for the American Cancer Society.”
At no cost to patients, the residential facility would provide accommodations for those adults coming to the Dallas area for cancer treatments.
In addition to the nearly two-acre land valued at $4M being donated by Baylor, the Baylor Health Care Foundation team led by President Robin Robinson was assigned to raise the funds. This fundraising effort for a unique facility to be located in North Texas was nothing new for the Foundation. It was just three-and-a-half years ago that, thanks to the Foundation’s efforts, Canine Companions for Independence opened its first training facility in North Texas and, for the first time, had teamed up with a medical center.
From the start, the Foundation was joined by others in the effort. Jennifer and Richard Dix signed on as the capital campaign co-chairs. The Cattle Baron’s Ball committee immediately hopped on board, featuring the naming opportunity as a live auction item .
At the Celebrating Women Luncheon in 2015, it was announced that the Andy Horner family and the men and women of Premier Designs had donated $1.25M to support Hope Lodge.
In 2016, CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber launched a drive for the committee members to raise $100,000 for the naming rights of a Hope Lodge suite.
That same year, John Terlingo and Chuck Steelman hosted a fundraiser that benefited both the Farrah Fawcett Foundation and Hope Lodge, hauling in $100,000.
In December 2017, the plans and designs were unveiled by Perkins and Will for the 40,000-square-foot, four-story facility located at the intersection of Elm and Hall adjacent to a one-level building for the American Cancer Society regional offices.
During the presentation, it was learned that the North Texas Hope Lodge would have “a shared kitchen, dining spaces, a garden, facility recreation rooms and resource library with an Internet computer station, as well as such services as daily transportation to and from treatment facilities and peer support groups and cancer care networks.” To assist residents during their stay in the four-story facility, Perkins and Will created a design that would “enhance the mental and society aspects of healing” including natural light, clean air and water, fitness and nourishment.”
It was also revealed that the cost of construction would hit $20M, and an additional $5M would be needed for operating support. At that time, underwriting for the outdoor spaces, as well as the main lobby, living room, library, meditation room and 20 of the suites, had been locked down. However, funding was still a priority since construction would not take place until they “hit 80%-85% of the $20M in capital funds.”
Over time, others came on board, like the Don and Trudy Steen Charitable Foundation, The Moody Foundation, Mabee Foundation, Susan and Bob Shapard and countless others who wanted to ease the anxiety for those seeking treatment in the Dallas area.
In late 2018, updates on the fundraising efforts went silent, with word that a big announcement would be forthcoming.
This past February the Foundation hosted a dinner at Perkins and Will to honor Paycom DFW founder Jeff York, who “had made a ‘multimillion-dollar’ gift to the campaign.”
Still, it was radio silence about the status of the efforts and the progress that had been made. Then, last week, invitations hit mailboxes about a Hope Lodge groundbreaking on Tuesday, May 7. It seems that all that fundraising had scored a touchdown, thanks to a $7.5M donation from Gene and Jerry Jones resulting in the new facility not only bearing the Jones family name, but also topping the goal for a total of $32M!
So on Tuesday, when shovels are turning dirt, it will be the beginning of construction for North Texas’ Hope Lodge scheduled to open in 2021 — thanks to a number of generous well-knowns and unknowns.
* Graphic and photo provided by Baylor Scott And White Foundation Dallas