Published on September 23, 2014

Carl & Dorothy Bennett Foundation Donates $9.1 Million to Stamford Hospital

Stamford Hospital Foundation, the fundraising arm of Stamford Hospital, announced that the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Foundation made a $9.1 million donation to HEALING REIMAGINED – The Campaign for Stamford Hospital. This most recent gift increases the total lifetime donations from Carl Bennett to more than $20 million, making him the largest individual donor in the history of Stamford Hospital.

Carl and his late wife, Dorothy, are known in business and philanthropic circles as the founders of the discount store chain Caldor, which they coined by combining both of their first names. The chain opened as a single store in Port Chester, N.Y. in 1951 with an initial investment of $8,000. Over the next three decades, with the support of area communities, the couple slowly expanded to a chain of 100 stores with $1 billion in sales. In 1981, they sold Caldor to Associated Dry Goods (ADG), and Carl stayed on to assist ADG in the transition until 1984. Carl was named to the Retailers Hall of Fame in 1983, a year after Sam Walton, the founder and chairman of Wal-Mart was inducted.

“Dorothy and I always viewed the hospital as an integral part of the community so, in our opinion, our support of Stamford Hospital was the greatest way to repay the community for their support of Caldor through the years,” said Bennett.
The Bennett’s relationship with Stamford Hospital began in 1974 when Carl was asked to join the Hospital’s board of directors. The couple’s first gift helped purchase what was then considered a state-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) scanner. An additional gift helped launch the Carl & Dorothy Bennett Cancer Center in 1992. In 2000, they gave a significant contribution for the main hospital campus, which is now known as “The Carl & Dorothy Bennett Medical Center.”

The latest gift will help support the new Stamford Hospital, improving the inpatient experience for all patients, especially those served by the Bennett Cancer Center who will be treated on a dedicated Medical and Surgical Oncology floor in the new facility when completed in 2016. In addition, this gift will provide enhanced facilities and technologies within the existing Bennett Cancer Center, which for more than 20 years, has provided the highest clinical standard of care in the area. Patients receive personalized care and support services from a multidisciplinary team led by board-certified physicians as well as radiation therapists, oncology nurses and nurse navigators. The Bennett Cancer Center also offers access to the latest clinical trials and is accredited at the highest level at a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

On schedule to open in 2016, the new Stamford Hospital will meet the needs of tomorrow’s patient-centered care by creating an environment for our world-class clinicians that embraces advanced technology and continuously evolving medicine while providing a unique, soothing environment for patients and their families.

“I’m glad the (Bennett) Cancer Center has been a tremendous resource for patients. The greatest reward for us has always been the unexpected gratitude from people, even strangers, in the community about what has been made possible by the care and comfort provided there,” said Bennett. “Sooner or later, everyone in the community is going to use or need the hospital, and this new hospital is a major undertaking. I feel we all have to do our part to ensure that first-class healthcare is available to the people in our community today and for the future.”

“All of us at the Hospital and the Bennett Cancer Center are grateful for this very generous investment by Carl and his family,” said Brian Grissler, President and CEO of Stamford Hospital. Kathy Silard, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Stamford Hospital added, “We value the Bennett Family’s leadership over the years, their financial commitment to our strong clinical programs, as well as their support of our plans for the new hospital. These are essential to not only our success, but the future of healthcare in this community.”

“From the contribution of his time and resources as a Board member and founding co-chair of our annual Corporate Invitational Golf Tournament to his significant philanthropic support, Carl’s contributions have helped us advance the level of care we can provide, and this has made a real difference in the lives of our patients and their families throughout the communities we serve,” added Christopher Riendeau, Senior Vice President of Fund Development for the Stamford Hospital Foundation.

When asked about being recognized as the largest individual donor, Bennett reflects on his humble beginnings. “I never imagined that Dorothy and I would have 100 stores – we just wanted one successful operation. Similarly, with all of the financial support the Hospital receives, I was surprised to learn that I am number one.”

He continued, “I’ve always believed that your health is the most important thing, and the ability to take care of people and provide good service is monumental. I hope our gifts have helped Stamford Hospital to provide this for people in our community.”

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