An Introspective from Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Tafaro
In November of 2019, Robert Tafaro was named chairman of the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center Board of Trustees, a term that began in January of 2020. Prior to his appointment Tafaro had served as a board member since 2016 and helped lead the Growing Forward Campaign as a member of the executive committee. Over the course of his involvement, Tafaro’s volunteerism has been matched by his philanthropy: Since 2014, he and his wife Catherine have strategically given to Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute and in 2020 became Washington Partners*.
Q: What motivates you to support Morristown Medical Center?
A: “Catherine and I are both grateful patients of Morristown Medical Center. I am thankful to Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute and its outstanding team for my exceptional patient experience and their world-class care.“Secondly, we are long-time residents of the area, and the hospital is meaningful to us. What I have learned during these unprecedented times is that giving to Morristown Medical Center makes sense; we all must do what we can to build excellence in health care together. Health care needs have escalated in many ways during the pandemic, like the surge of patients to Sameth Emergency Department. To stay at the forefront of this growing demand, we must expand and modernize our emergency department.”
Q: What do you enjoy most about supporting Morristown Medical Center?
A: “I like that our support helps everyone in the community. People who donate are assured that their giving goes fully and directly to the hospital, even to a specific program if desired. Morristown Medical Center has world-class physicians and dentists, providing exceptional care each day, and often donating their time to the underserved members of our community through outreach programs and clinics. Their extraordinary efforts have a ripple effect, helping to build healthier communities where we all live and work. And they need our support.”
Q: How does philanthropy play an integral factor in the hospital’s growth?
A: “Every dollar raised in the recent Growing Forward Campaign went toward necessary upgrades and expansion at our three Centers of Excellence – Goryeb Children’s Hospital, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center and Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. On average, capital projects at the hospital are not fully self-funding. This single fact points to the critical importance of donor support to provide for the growth and development of the hospital.”
Q: When you took on the role of chair in January 2020, it was only a couple of months before the COVID-19 pandemic began significantly impacting our community and our nation. How did you draw upon your experience as a former President and CEO to help you navigate this unprecedented time?
A: “As we faced so much change, including the welcoming of a new Chief Development Officer, Jennifer L. Smith, it was imperative that we maintained our focus on engaging our critical resources and human capital to do the work and to connect our donor community with our most pressing needs.
“Additionally, over the years, the Simon, Goryeb and Gagnon families continue to give their time and philanthropy to Morristown Medical Center tirelessly. When the pandemic hit, I saw many others in the community, including many first-time donors, follow their lead. They stepped up and were all in agreement that this was a worthy cause to support – helping the hospital address the healthcare crisis presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. And they continued to give throughout 2021, making a meaningful impact, for which we are so grateful.”
Q: What do people need to learn about the role of philanthropy in building strong communities?
A: “It is essential that we have both: the charitable donor, who sees a need and fills it, and the strategic donor who makes a lifetime commitment to a cause or charitable institution. I help educate many charitable donors who make long-term giving a part of their life’s work.
“I have a straightforward strategy: providing support to a world-class organization with the best interest of the community’s health as the top concern. I am grateful that so many from this community share this vision alongside me.”
*Washington Partners are donors who have given $1 million or more over their lifetime.