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Toby Blossom and Lorrie Shaffer (right) of Huntington Bank, trustee of the Walter W. Born Foundation, were involved in awarding a $250,000 challenge grant to Summa Health to support cutting-edge 3D mammography. That grant is the largest among dozens of gifts by the Born Foundation to Summa Health dating back to 2007 and totaling more than $1.1 million. 

Born ... with a purpose

Many programs benefit from Walter W. Born Foundation

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Promise magazine.

Generous support from the Walter W. Born Foundation is propelling Summa Health forward.

In 2018, the foundation continued its steadfast support of Summa Health with gifts to advance nursing excellence and transform the patient experience at Summa Health System — Barberton Campus. With total giving more than $1.1 million and philanthropic investments at three Summa Health System hospitals, the Born Foundation’s impact is far-reaching.

Beginning with its first gift in 2007 to the campaign for the construction of the Jean and Milton Cooper Pavilion, the Born Foundation’s generous support has touched many aspects of patient care. A strong advocate for Summa Health nurses, the Born Foundation has made several significant gifts to support professional development and educational opportunities for Summa Health’s frontline care providers.

In addition to ensuring Summa Health nurses have opportunities for advanced and specialized training, a grant from the Born Foundation provided nursing staff with the latest technology to monitor and assess patient vital signs.

Additionally, the Born Foundation awarded Summa Health with a $250,000 challenge grant to bring cutting-edge 3D mammography technology to the community. The advanced screening technology takes multiple images of breast tissue to recreate a three-dimensional picture of the breast that allows radiologists to see through layers of tissue and detect abnormalities sooner, reduce the number of repeat tests, and decrease the amount of time patients have to wait for results. With the Born Foundation’s matching funds, Summa Health became the first hospital in the region to make this breakthrough technology the standard of care for both screening and diagnostic exams at all of its locations.

Recognizing the important role Summa Health plays as a leader in behavioral health, the Born Foundation provided critical funds to renovate space and launch a partial hospitalization program (PHP) at Summa Health System — St. Thomas Campus in 2017. A step below inpatient hospitalization, PHP is offered as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric care for patients with a wide range of behavioral health conditions. A subsequent gift in 2018 allowed the expansion of behavioral health services on the Barberton Campus with space for an intensive outpatient program.

“The Walter W. Born Foundation is driving innovation and clinical excellence by investing in a wide range of initiatives across the health system,” said Dr. Michael Hughes, president, Summa Health System — Barberton Campus. “Every gift is critical to our mission to provide the highest quality, compassionate care to our patients and contribute to a healthier community. The generous and loyal support of the Walter W. Born Foundation helps us achieve our mission.”

The Born Foundation is the result of thoughtful end-of-life planning of Walter W. Born, who passed away in August 1989. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Thelma. The Akron resident with a generous spirit and passion for the health and well-being of his community arranged for the creation of a foundation through his estate exclusively to benefit hospitals.

Toby Blossom, Brenda Moubray and Lorrie Shaffer of Huntington Bank, the Born Foundation’s trustee, are helping to fulfill Mr. Born’s philanthropic wishes. With more than $4 million distributed to Northeast Ohio hospitals, patients in Akron and beyond are benefitting from Mr. Born’s compassion and foresight.

For more information about supporting the Healing Arts program at Summa Health, contact Vanessa Sampsel, Director, Foundation Relations, at 330.375.7840 or


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