Ellicott City couple donates $1 million to hospital foundation

An Ellicott City couple has donated $1 million to the Howard Hospital Foundation, one of the largest individual donations the Howard County General Hospital's nonprofit wing ever has received.

The donation, from Sanford A. Berman and his wife, Kay Y. Ota-Berman, was announced Feb. 17.

"I'm approaching 80," Sanford Berman, said Friday. "This money, we asked ourselves and each other — what are we going to do with it? We're not big spenders. We live simply. Our needs are relatively simple. So why not do something constructive with it? We are financially secure and independent, so we decided to make a contribution."

The Bermans, both of whom are retired psychologists, had initially sought to donate to a medical office building near the hospital in Columbia where Sanford was regularly receiving medical care. But he was told that the site is privately owned and was unable to accept the donation, and he was instead directed to the Howard Hospital Foundation.

The donation is one of three $1 million individual gifts the foundation has received since it was founded in 1992.

The foundation raises money for the hospital. Sandy Harriman, the foundation's vice president of development, said the Bermans' gift will cover a major part of this fiscal year's $2.6 million fundraising goal. The foundation has raised about $25 million in total toward its $30 million campaign, money Harriman said is necessary for supporting a growing hospital.

"We have more than 3,000 babies born at the hospital every year, and so many people going through the emergency room," Harriman said. "Even after an earlier renovation of the emergency room, it's already at capacity and needs to be enlarged. There's just increasing numbers of people who need the hospital."

The Bermans' gift is expected help cover costs associated with renovations and the construction of a $105 million patient pavilion that was completed in 2009. The four-story building has three floors of individual patient rooms and a renovated lobby and outpatient services area, according to Sandy Harriman, the foundation's vice president of development.

A section of the lobby has been named the "Dr. Sanford A. Berman and Dr. Kay Y. Ota-Berman Atrium."

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