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Home > Giving > Mercy Foundation > History
“Bless those who support our mission. Give them joy in knowing that by helping Mercy they are doing yourhealing work.”
— Sister Mary Lawrence Hallagan (1910-1999)
Ahead of her time and not afraid to innovate, Sister Mary Lawrence Hallagan served as administrator of Mercy Hospital for a total of 17 years, retiring in 1978. During this time, she gained an unprecedented amount of respect and admiration from business and community leaders.
Sister Mary Lawrence saw the wisdom in separating the hospital’s gifts from its operating funds for years. She saw the need to respond to the rising costs and increasing governmental controls of hospital funds. And, she saw the need to create something that would help Mercy Hospital endure.
Her relationships brought large support to Mercy Hospital. One particular relationship was with industrialist Howard Hall. After Howard’s death, his brother-in-law, Beahl T. Perrine, along with Howard’s wife, Margaret, and Mrs. Perrine, gave the liquid assets of the Hall Radiation Center and Hallmar to Mercy.
In 1977, just a year before she retired as administrator, Sister Mary Lawrence moved to incorporate the Mercy Endowment Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, to help the hospital with its capital needs. It allowed the dream of a foundation that operated exclusively to support the mission and activities of the hospital and help Mercy endure into the future become reality. After her retirement in 1978, Sister Mary Lawrence became the Foundation’s first executive director.
Over the past 40 years, the Foundation has proudly supported and partnered with the hospital to maintain The Mercy Touch, initiated by the Sisters in 1900. Contributions from the Foundation to Mercy Medical Center total more than $86 million since 1977. These funds support technology, staff education, program improvements and innovation.
As we look to the future, we recognize the important role you play in helping Mercy endure. Challenges of rising costs and funding shortfalls haven’t disappeared. With you standing by this organization’s side to offer support when and where it is needed most, the Sisters’ legacy will only continue to grow alongside Mercy’s innovative care.
For more information on the impact the Mercy Foundation had this past year, see your gifts at work.