SANTA ROSA -- The Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation awarded Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital $2 million to support the expansion and renovation of its emergency department and regional trauma center, making the foundation the leading contributor to a campaign that has raised $4.2 million to date, the hospital announced today.

[caption id="attachment_60903" align="alignright" width="313"] Norma and Evert Person[/caption]

In addition, the Finley Foundation has offered a challenge grant, for which the hospital would receive an additional $500,000 by raising a matching $2 million within the coming year.

“We are so fortunate to have this vital service close to home and we invite others in the community to join in supporting this crucial project,” said Norma Person, president and director of the foundation.

“Even before Evert laid Memorial Hospital’s cornerstone in 1949, he understood how essential quality health care is to our community,” said Mrs. Person, whose late husband, Evert Person, succeeded the Finleys as publisher of the Press Democrat. “Throughout his life, Evert felt a responsibility to support his community and ensure that everyone in it has access to the best medical and health care. These gifts to expand Memorial’s emergency and regional trauma facilities will help continue Evert’s legacy.”

The Finley Foundation’s gift supports Santa Rosa Memorial’s $15 million expansion and renovation of the emergency department and trauma center, which broke ground in May 2012. The project will add nearly 50 percent more square footage to the North Coast region’s busiest ER, which treats an average of 100 patients daily or about 36,500 individuals each year. The expansion of the ER and trauma center, which will total just more than 13,500 square feet, is scheduled to be completed in early 2014.

[caption id="attachment_60904" align="alignleft" width="313"] Artist renderings of the new Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Emergency Department examination rooms.[/caption]

It will feature 26 private patient rooms plus a triage room -- for a total of 27 fully enclosed rooms. That will allow the region’s only designated level II trauma center to treat more critically ill and injured patients, while more quickly caring for patients with less serious conditions. The expanded ER is designed to treat at least 50,000 patients or more per year.

“Norma and Evert Person’s generosity has made a significant difference in the quality of health care for all of us who live here,” said Dr. John Reed, medical director of the Norma and Evert Person Heart & Vascular Institute at Santa Rosa Memorial. "This project will truly help to improve our capacity to save lives.”

Todd Salnas, the new president of St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County, praised the Finley Foundation’s gift and said it's an important step in  the hospital to advance its services locally and throughout the region. St. Joseph Health owns and operates Memorial Hospital.

“It’s a tremendous honor that we are so generously supported by our community,” Mr. Salnas said. “On behalf of our entire ministry, I thank Mrs. Person and the Finley Foundation for their leadership and generosity in supporting our mission to care for every person in the communities we serve.”