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Whitefish hospital foundation receives $1 million gift

by Daily Inter Lake
| January 15, 2022 1:00 AM

The Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation has received the largest gift ever in the foundation’s history from the estate of two longtime hospital and community supporters.

The estate of Jake and Connie Heckathorn recently made a $1 million donation to the foundation’s endowment at the Whitefish Community Foundation.

The Heckathorns moved to Whitefish in 1954 and both spent decades serving in the community. Jake died in December of 2018 at the age of 95, and Connie died at age 93 in March of 2021.

After more than 40 years of service to the hospital, Jake was awarded the first Spirit of Caring Award by North Valley Hospital in 2003. He provided legal guidance, attended board of director meetings, and was a founding member of the North Valley Hospital Foundation, now known as Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation. He served as co-chair of the 2001 Capital Campaign to build the new hospital in 2007 at the current location. Overall, Jake provided his time and advice to North Valley Hospital for more than 50 years and was honored by the hospital with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

“My dad loved hosting and going to the hospital’s Mash Bash parties. Sometimes that is all he talked about,” wrote daughter Marti Heckathorn Bezdicek to the foundation. “I think the hospital has been part of my family since I can remember and I'm glad my parents can help other people with their donation.”

Connie also faithfully served the community for six decades in various areas of the community including serving on the Whitefish School Board, being active in leadership at P.E.O., and the Whitefish Community Library. She was also one of the five founders of the Whitefish Community Foundation and organized and chaired their first Community Grants Program in 2000.

In addition to the donation to the hospital foundation, other gifts from the Heckathorn estate were made to the Whitefish Community Library, Shepherds Hand Clinic and the Whitefish Community Foundation.

The $300,000 gift to the Whitefish Community Foundation is also going into a permanent endowment fund to support community programs like the Great Fish Community Challenge in perpetuity. The Whitefish Community Foundation has formed the Cheers for Volunteers Award to recognize the gift. Jake for several years wrote a column for the Whitefish Pilot called Cheers for Volunteers and the community foundation will recognize a volunteer in the community each year and award $2,500 to the charity of their choice.

The Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation was formed in 2000 when the community recognized a need for a sole supporting fundraising arm of the hospital was required to help support efforts to build a new hospital. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $14 million to support capital projects, equipment purchases and fund programs of the Logan Health – Whitefish hospital and clinics.

“This tremendous gift to our organization will forever be a legacy to the Heckathorn family and generate income for generations to come to support programs and capital needs of our local hospital and clinics,” said Alan Satterlee, Executive Director of the Logan Health – Whitefish Foundation. “We’ll all be forever indebted to the generosity of this great Whitefish family.”

With the $1 million gift the endowment held at the Whitefish Community Foundation will have a balance of over $1.6 million.

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