Former Wexner Med Center exec launches Health Philanthropy Services Group

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Veteran hospital fundraiser Bill Mountcastle recently launched a Columbus-based consulting firm aimed at improving the fundraising performance of academic medical centers, health systems, community hospitals, and health organizations.

The firm, Health Philanthropy Services Group, is comprised of senior health care philanthropy executives who have worked at the strategic and operational levels, with experience driving and managing fundraising improvement and development, change management, and turnaround.

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Bill Mountcastle

“Our ability to build successful philanthropic cultures for nonprofit health care organizations, improve grateful patient donor development, and to increase fundraising results is what separates us from other fundraising consultants,” says Mountcastle, who previously worked at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, as well as University Hospitals of Cleveland and Cleveland Clinic.

Though Health Philanthropy Services Group is not even one month old, it has already garnered several clients, including West Virginia University School of Medicine, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Mercer Health, and Life Is Good No Matter What Foundation, a charity that works with adult patients who have terminal cancer.

In our interview with Mountcastle, he talks about why he went out on his own, his team at Health Philanthropy Services Group, and why philanthropy is no longer “the icing on the cake” for medical centers and hospitals.

The Metropreneur: What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

Bill Mountcastle: The biggest impetus for starting the company was realizing that I was able to provide a great product –information and experience from top-tier hospital philanthropy programs, like Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland, and Ohio State University– and that no one I was aware of was providing that same specialized detail and focus on health care fundraising. This provided a great deal of confidence. I also gained confidence from meeting with many health care fundraising leaders and asking questions to refine my business model before I launched the business.

[M]: Who, besides you, is associated with Health Philanthropy Services Group?

BM: Health Philanthropy Services Group developed a truly distinctive allied expert colleague model to fill a void in the world of advisor affiliation. We blend our experiences and expertise to help us derive the right solutions for our clients.  This AEC model provides a linkage between Health Philanthropy Services Group and AEC consulting firms.

Current allied expert colleagues and their specializations include Jack Licate, PhD, of  Jack A. Licate and Associates, a fundraising consulting firm, specializing in capital campaigns, healthcare leadership, and government relations to secure appropriations or major grants; Dario Muzina of Muzina Resources LLC, an advancement consultation service with alumni fundraising expertise; and Dan Barney of Barney & Associates, a development database consulting firm specializing in multiple customer and data technology, from situational assessments and technology audits to implementation project management and transition to sustaining operations.

In addition, Marlene Casini, a philanthropy leadership expert, serves as a senior advisor.

[M]: What you do at Health Philanthropy Services Group is very specialized. Why did you decide to do that particular kind of work?

BM: We are adept at applying our first-hand experiences to the nonprofit health care sector, where we know business and process can be more challenging. Our clients are looking specifically for specialized skills.

They want consultants who have specialized knowledge and intimately understand the complexities of raising philanthropic investment for the health care sector. They want consultants who appreciate that donor generosity to health causes is truly distinctive and indisputably linked to the health of the individual donor and/or their family, friends, and community. They want consultants who can increase their philanthropic support through grateful patient programs and annual, major, and planned giving strategies.

We understand health care and are able to offer highly specialized consulting, with a high level of quality and exclusivity, allowing our clients to have access to some of the most recognized experts in health care philanthropy.

[M]: You’ve said that U.S. medical centers and hospitals are thinking differently about how philanthropy is impacting their organizations. What do you mean?

BM: Many agree that hospitals face a tough road ahead. Operating margins are now razor thin and government support for research and medical education is dwindling. Philanthropy is becoming increasingly significant as academic medical centers, community hospitals, and health systems face many fiscal challenges and practically stagnant revenue growth.

Philanthropy is no longer seen as “icing on the cake.” It is now an integral ingredient in the whole cake. We can be sure that reimbursements will not increase and expenses will continue to rise. We need to see smart investment in fundraising operations in health care because philanthropy will enable hospitals and healthcare systems to retain and recruit key physicians, address capital needs, and maintain operating expenses. Hospital sustainability now mandates robust philanthropy returns.

[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know?

BM: Our mission is to create healthy philanthropic results, provide solutions, and deliver cost-effective and innovative professional services for our clients: non-profit health organizations that serve society and their individual communities. We are truly passionate about philanthropy and the essential role that it plays in helping transform medicine, health care, and scientific discovery in today’s world, and we are driven by our mission to help people. We continue to look for opportunities to do things professionally that we personally find remarkable.

To learn more about Health Philanthropy Services Group, visit Health-Philanthropy.com.