A History of Giving
The history of philanthropy at UnityPoint Health – Meriter goes back to our founding in the late 1890s when Minnie Hobbins—with the help of the Madison Women's Club and Attic Angels—raised the funds necessary to build Madison's first permanent hospital, Madison General. Ms. Hobbins lead a vigorous fundraising campaign, which included a fruitful door-to-door effort and a $15,000 pledge from the Madison City Council. In 1903, Madison General Hospital opened its doors.
In response to Madison's growing population in the early 1900s, Methodist Hospital expanded services and added more hospital beds with a new building in 1927. Local entrepreneur, William D. Curtis was a leading fundraiser and financial support of the project. He created a trust for the construction and ongoing operations of Methodist Hospital in the amount of $50,000.
In the decades that followed, generous philanthropic support helped to build quality health care for our community.
In 1987, Madison General Hospital and Methodist Hospital merged to form Meriter Health Services. Two nursing schools are also part of our legacy: the Madison General Hospital School of Nursing (c.1902-1982) and the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing (1921-1974). These two schools, both of which maintain vibrant alumni associations, trained over three thousand nurses.
In 2014, Meriter Health Services affiliated with UnityPoint Health, with 29 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities, 280 clinics and over 900 physicians serving patients in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
In July 2017, UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter signed a joint operating agreement, which created a unified clinical enterprise. While each entity remains independent, the organizations agreed to align finances, clinical operations, and strategy, which will be led by UW Health. Aligning operations strengthens efforts to use healthcare resources more prudently and allows each organization to focus on its traditional strengths.
While affiliated with UnityPoint Health and partnered with UW Health, Meriter Foundation remains an independent charitable enterprise and all gifts to Meriter Foundation supports Meriter programs and initiatives that benefit our patients, caregivers and the community.