$5 Million Dollar Gift to Allen Hospital

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By Ashley Hinson

WATERLOO-Allen Hospital has received a $5 million gift from Waterloo philanthropist Pauline Barrett to help build a new, 70,000-square-foot addition. The new facility will be named the Pauline Barrett Pavilion. It will house the new Allen Emergency Department and new Allen Heart and Vascular Center.

Mrs. Barrett’s gift is the largest donation Allen Hospital has received since its founding by Henry B. Allen in 1925. It ranks among the largest philanthropic gifts in Cedar Valley history.

The Pauline Barrett Pavilion will relocate and expand Allen Hospital’s emergency and heart and vascular services. It will be built on the southwest side of the hospital, west of the Allen Birthing Center. The new Allen Emergency Department will be located on the first floor, while the new Allen Heart and Vascular Center will occupy the second and third floors of the pavilion.

Rick Seidler, Allen Health System president and CEO, announced the Barrett gift today at Allen College in Waterloo. He said, “Mrs. Barrett’s gift will give us the ability to complete the Pauline Barrett Pavilion to house the new Allen Emergency Department and the new Allen Heart and Vascular Center. These new facilities are going to transform healthcare in the Cedar Valley.”

Pauline Barrett’s gift is a major boost for the Allen capital campaign. With today’s gift, the Allen Foundation has raised $8.4 million toward the $15 million campaign goal. Matt Rolinger, senior director of the Allen Foundation, spoke to the impact the Barrett gift will have in the Cedar Valley. "It takes more than great intentions to change our world, and Pauline knows that,” Rolinger said. “She has taken the leap of faith we needed to move this project from inspirational concept to an enduring new reality."

The Allen Foundation campaign goal includes $7.5 million to build the new emergency department and heart and vascular center, and $7.5 million to build, equip, staff and endow new facilities, programs and scholarships at Allen College. Planning for the campaign began in October 2006. The first phase of the campaign started in March 2007. It is scheduled to conclude in November 2008.

Allen’s expansion projects are designed to meet increased demand for services that are vital to healthcare in the Cedar Valley. The current Allen Emergency Department, built for 15,000 annual patient visits, treated 29,000 patients in 2006 and had its busiest month in history in July 2007. Allen College is expecting 450 nursing and radiography students when classes resume August 20, up from 425 students last fall. This year marks Allen College’s fifth consecutive record enrollment.
While today’s gift stands alone in size and impact, it is not Pauline Barrett’s first gift to Allen. In years past, she endowed the Barrett Medical Library at Allen Hospital for Black Hawk County physicians, and helped fund Gerard Hall, Allen College’s first building. She gave the lead gift to build Barrett Forum and the Barrett Library at Allen College in 2000. Barrett Forum is named to honor both Pauline Barrett and Dr. Sterling A. (Archie) Barrett, her late husband. She also helped to build the new Allen Birthing Center in 2004.

Commenting on today’s gift, Mrs. Barrett said, “I firmly believe in keeping your money in your community. I enjoy giving, and I love Iowa. I have traveled all over the world, but my favorite place is home.”
Pauline Barrett was born in Calhoun County in 1921. She put herself through business college in Fort Dodge and then worked for Farm Bureau in Rockwell City. She moved to Waterloo in 1943, and worked at Rath Packing Company for 17 years. She was private secretary to Ray Paul, Rath’s vice president and company director, until his death in 1957. She then was secretary to L.M. (Doc) Kyner until her retirement in 1960.

Pauline married Dr. Sterling A. (Archie) Barrett, an eye, ear, nose, and throat specialist, in 1954. Dr. Barrett was a partner in the Reuling, Bender and Barrett medical practice located in the Black's building in Waterloo. He retired in 1972, and died in 1981.

Mrs. Barrett attributes her own generosity to the examples set by her parents and husband. Pauline’s family was not wealthy, but they gave what they had back to their community. They also taught Pauline to help others, especially those in need. Pauline’s husband was equally generous. Dr. Barrett supported many causes in Waterloo and funded college scholarships for medical students that continue today.
Mrs. Barrett’s savings habit started small, but it didn’t stay that way for long. She began saving as a single working woman, living at the Waterloo YWCA. She wanted a car, so she saved her money. When it was time to buy, she bought a brand new Chevrolet for cash. “I can still remember driving that new car down East Fourth Street,” she says with a laugh. “That was really special.”

Dr. and Mrs. Barrett took a mutual interest in investing early in their marriage. Pauline says she has used several simple investing rules to build her portfolio over the years. She has invested in companies that make products people want to buy, and she has bought and held her investments for the long term. “The first stock we bought was Revlon,” she remembers. “All the women in the Rath office were using Revlon lipstick and nail polish, so we thought that would be a good stock to own. And it was.” It’s a deceptively simple strategy that has put her in a financial position to help support many organizations throughout the Cedar Valley for decades.

Pauline Barrett is a past member of the Boards of Trustees of the YWCA, the Community Foundation of Waterloo and Northeast Iowa and the Covenant Medical Center Foundation. She is a past elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Waterloo and was secretary of the church's foundation board. Pauline has been a member of the Beta Sigma Phi since 1944, and a member of Rebekah Lodge since 1942. She is also a member of PEO Chapter Z.

Planning for the Pauline Barrett Pavilion is almost complete. Construction will start August 20 with the demolition of Dack Hall. Site work for excavation will follow. The hospital will break ground for the new building in November and open the Pauline Barrett Pavilion and the new Allen Emergency Department in the spring of 2009. The project is the first in a master plan to rebuild and reorient much of the Allen Hospital campus over the next decade.

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