James L. Bennington, M.D.
[Originally published in the Foundation’s newsletter Prime Scene, April 2007]
Philanthropy Is Extremely Important to the Medical Center’s Operation
As a physician, James L. Bennington, M.D., knows first-hand the importance of quality medical care. As a philanthropist, he believes you “leave something behind” for those institutions you value.
It’s no surprise, then, that Dr. Bennington and his wife, Josephine, included California Pacific Medical Center Foundation in their living trust. “The Medical Center not only delivers the finest possible care,” he says, “it also integrates that care with medical education and research. There is the full gamut — a completely rounded program of care. This is what makes the Medical Center special.”
Dr. Bennington, a pathologist, has a unique perspective on California Pacific. He retired as chairman of its Pathology Department after 30 years of service and, to this day, remains active in cancer research at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. He has been a member of the Foundation Board for more than 20 years and still serves in that capacity, and is past chairman of its Planned Giving Committee
“I am a failure as a retiree,” says Dr. Bennington. In addition to his involvement with the Medical Center, he organizes and runs pathology continuing-education courses each year in Hawaii and South Carolina, is an active commercial and instrument-rated pilot, and spends summers at his Montana ranch flying and fly fishing. But no matter where he travels, he remains close to California Pacific.
“This Medical Center is extremely important to the community, and philanthropy is extremely important to its operation,” says Dr. Bennington. As a not-for-profit medical center, it relies heavily on donor support to meet the wide ranging health care needs of the people it serves.
Speaking for himself and his wife, Dr. Bennington continues, “The purpose of making money is not just to sit on it, but to put it to good use. Our purpose in life has not been to make our children wealthy — we wanted to give them a good start — but also to help others. We want to leave a legacy . . . to support the Medical Center.”
“Planned giving,” he says, “is a way to stay active in philanthropy after you are gone.”