Cincinnati Enquirer - Two prominent Cincinnati families have delivered the largest financial contribution to an Ohio health care facility in more than a decade. The Fath and Lindner families announced Monday they are giving $75 million to the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason to address mental health care across the region.
The announcement came at the Lindner Center, established 10 years ago and operating under the umbrella of UC Health. The donation was announced as the region has struggled with an outbreak of youth suicide. Last year, Hamilton County registered 13 deaths by suicide in people 18 and younger; the number so far in 2017 is 12. The county has never had two straight years of youth suicide in double digits.
Harry and Linda Fath are giving $50 million to the Lindner Center, and their friends S. Craig and Frances Lindner also are chipping in $25 million. The Lindners are founders of the center and sit on its board of directions. The Faths own Fath Properties, which oversees more than 8,000 apartments in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas.
The joint contribution is the largest in Ohio health care since 2005, when the Miller family gave $70 million to the Cleveland Clinic's heart care pavilion, according to a database compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
At the announcement, Fath said he and his wife had been talking about where to leave their money. Friends and family had used the Lindner Center as a resource, he said. The couple wanted to leave a large gift where it would do a lot of good and inspire others to give to the center, too.
"I'd be shocked if can't double what we're donating to the Lindner Center," Fath said. "And even though I'm 77 years old going on 78, decades from now, we want this place to be thriving."
In thanking Fath, Lindner said the inpatient units at the center and its endowment fund now will be named for the Faths. The donation "is truly a game changer. … Thank you for your generority and for inspiring others to get involved and for helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness."
The Lindner Center provides inpatient and outpatient mental health care as well as counseling and research on drugs and other treatments for depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and other mental illnesses. In collaboration with UC Health and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the center has seen 30,000 patients from all 50 states and several other nations.
To understand how the $75 million contribution could help the center's financial resource, consider that the Lindner Center's 2015 tax return reported revenues of roughly $28 million on expenses of $29 million. The center cost $28 million when it was constructed.
To call the $75 million gift "jaw-dropping would be an understatement," said Dr. Paul Keck, the center's president and chief executive officer. The Faths and the Lindners broke the news of their plans to Keck about six weeks ago, the CEO said in an interview with The Enquirer last week. Keck presented the proposed gifts to the center's board Monday morning.
The goal, he said, is to inspire other contributors in the region to donate to mental-health causes because the need is great. The mental-health system is under other stresses. Insurance reimbursements trail other medical care, medical-school graduates are staying away from psychiatry, and philanthropy for mental health lags.
"Mr. Fath wanted to challenge the community to support the center, and in response, Frances and Craig agreed to recommit" and pledged their contribution, Keck said. "The Faths' goal and the Lindners' goal in this was to cement the center's reputation as a national center of excellence and so give us the tools to not only provide terrific patient care but to be a model for other communities and other mental health systems."