Madera hospital gets record $3 million from Arnold Foundation

The Fresno BeeSeptember 19, 2013 

Madera Community Hospital has received a donation worth $3 million from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation -- the largest single gift in the hospital's 42-year history.

The donation, announced Saturday during the hospital foundation's dinner dance, consists of three asset holdings. The hospital declined to say what those assets are and has not decided how the assets will be used.

John Frye, the hospital's chief executive officer, applauded the generosity of the foundation, which has made three donations totaling $4.1 million to the hospital since last June.

"Through generous gifts to the Madera Community Hospital and other community agencies, Red and Nancy Arnold's kindness has continued to impact the community they loved and lived in long after their passing," Frye said in a news release.

Robert C. "Red" Arnold, who came from a pioneer Madera family and made a living in farm real estate, established the foundation with his wife, Nancy Pennycook Arnold. They had no children and left the foundation in the control of nieces and nephews after their deaths.

The foundation first gave a $100,000 donation to the 106-bed hospital in June 2012 followed by a $1 million gift in December. All three gifts make up the largest donations to the hospital, said Valerie Vogel, business development director.

In 2011, according to the hospital's latest available federal tax records, it received $315,690 in contributions and grants.

"The community itself is just near and dear to the family," Vogel said. "I know they've done some other donations within the community."

In August, the foundation donated $1.5 million to the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter, $500,000 to the Madera Rescue Mission, and $250,000 to the Madera County Historical Society.

The foundation decided in June to donate the assets, which one family member described as property, to the hospital because it was a viable organization that benefits the residents of Madera. The charity's board members did not specify how the assets were to be used, said the family member, who did not want to be identified.

The charity was established in 2006 after Red Arnold's death, but did not disburse any money until 2010, after Nancy Arnold died.

The idea was to give large donations to community organizations that could help both the people and animals of Madera, the family member said.

The reporter can be reached at blee@fresnobee.com or at (559) 441-6495 or on Twitter @bonhialee

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