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GROCERY SCION DONATES $1M TO RIVERVIEW

The gift puts Riverview’s campaign to pay for a new day-stay surgery center past its $15 million goal. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Navesink couple is the latest in a string of wealthy donors to write a whopping check to help pay for a new surgical center at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, the hospital announced late Tuesday.

Richard Saker, the third-generation CEO of the Saker ShopRite chain, and his wife, Laura, have donated $1 million to the cause through the business, the hospital reports.

The commitment pushes the hospital’s campaign for the 22,000-square-foor surgery center “well past” its $15 million goal, the nonprofit said in its announcement.

Prior donations have included $5 million from Bob & Joan Rechnitz, founders of the Two River Theater Company, and $1 million from George and Vita Kolber of Locust. Hospital workers themselves ponied up nearly $375,000, officials said at the center’s opening last month.

The hospital did not immediately say how the campaign surplus would be spent. [Update: Riverview spokesman Tom Paolella tells redbankgreen via email that the Saker contribution “continues the significant momentum and support from this community that has us ahead in our plans for a second phase of growth for Riverview that we will be sharing with the community shortly.”]

Here’s the full announcement from the public relations office at Riverview, one of the hospitals in the Meridian Health universe:

Red Bank, NJ – April 17, 2012 – Riverview Medical Center today announced a $1 million charitable donation from Saker ShopRites to Meridian Health to benefit the Life.Changing. Campaign for Surgical Excellence at Riverview. The donation will help support the construction of Riverview’s new 22,000 square foot center for surgical excellence, and effectively vaults the campaign well past the $15 million fundraising goal. The project, which is currently underway includes: two sophisticated specialty surgical suites, renovated post-anesthesia care area, relocated and renovated surgical day stay, and a state-of-the-art conference and educational center. This advancement will allow patients to continue to receive advanced surgical procedures close to home, without having to travel to New York City or elsewhere.

The Saker family has spent a lifetime sharing their blessings. Richard currently serves as a member of the Riverview Medical Center Foundation board of trustees. As president and chief executive officer of Saker Holdings Corporation, and Saker ShopRites, Inc., Richard has harnessed the power of this huge enterprise to benefit countless lives and the quality of life for the residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties. Together with his wife Laura, a professional educator, dancer, and choreographer, they have both helped to raise millions of dollars to benefit the hungry, and many other worthwhile causes.

“Our family is extremely proud and honored to be a part of a project that is going to have such a life-changing impact on the surrounding communities,” said Laura. “We feel it is important to support the community we call home,” said Richard. “Laura and I have always had a deep affection for Riverview Medical Center where our children were born and where our family members have always been well cared for. When we heard about the new center being built, we wanted to do what we could to help make it happen.”

Richard serves on the boards of Wakefern Food Corporation, the New Jersey Food Council, the Academy of Food Marketing at St Joseph’s University, and the Joan Dancy and People with ALS Foundation. Both Richard and Laura have been recognized by singer Andrea Bocelli for their charitable work with the Vision of Children Foundation and are steadfast supporters of the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. In the past year alone, over 1,500 Central NJ organizations have benefited from Saker ShopRites charitable donations. In addition, Saker ShopRites supports the “ShopRite Partners in Caring” program, a charity dedicated to the fight against hunger, where this year over 1000 charities have received a portion of the $2 million donated by “ShopRite Partners in Caring”.

As third generation in a family business, Richard remains loyal to his roots in Monmouth County and to his hometown of Freehold; site of the first family owned and operated Saker’s market, established in 1906 by his grandparents. Together with Laura who serves on the boards of the Monmouth County SPCA, Two River Theater Company, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, and the Drumthwacket Foundation, they have maintained a decades-long Saker family tradition of giving back to the community in which they work and live.

“We are grateful for the long-standing commitment to Riverview Medical Center by one of Monmouth County’s most charitable families,” says David Flood, president of the Meridian Health Foundation. “This gift is a tangible affirmation of our commitment as the healthcare heart of our community and provides critical support for the programs and services we are developing. Thanks to their generosity and vision, the Sakers have put this campaign over the top, while contributing to a momentum that has us ahead in our plans for a second phase of growth for Riverview that we will be sharing with community shortly. This great community demands and deserves superior healthcare, and Riverview is committed to delivering just that with every dollar invested.”

“The Saker’s generosity is inspiring,” says Tim Hogan, FACHE, regional president of Riverview Medical Center and Bayshore Community Hospital. “People rightly acknowledge that Riverview has had an exceptional past. But exceptional isn’t going to be good enough for the future; as healthcare moves forward we need to be at the forefront of patient care. The campaign provides an opportunity for any and all community members to put a personal stamp on this historic project — one that will provide state-of-the-art healthcare for generations to come.”

To learn more about the center for surgical excellence, or to support the Life. Changing. campaign visit www.RiverviewMedicalCenter.com/LifeChanging.

About Riverview Medical Center

Riverview Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health Family, is a 463-bed not-for-profit community hospital located on the Navesink River in Red Bank, New Jersey. Riverview Medical Center provides health care programs and services in all major medical disciplines including: maternity, oncology, orthopedics and rehabilitation, neurology, thoracic and vascular surgery, cardiology, renal dialysis, diabetes management, and emergency and critical care services. Riverview’s Jane H. and John Marshall Booker Cancer Center offers comprehensive cancer services close to home, while Riverview’s Jane H. Booker Women and Children’s Center combines expertise and convenience to address preventative health, diagnosis, treatment, and support for women of all ages. Riverview Rehabilitation Center is Monmouth County’s only fully-accredited inpatient rehabilitation facility, and Riverview is a designated Primary Stroke Center and has also maintained prestigious Magnet designation for Nursing Excellence since 1998. Riverview is the only hospital in the region with the groundbreaking CyberKnife® system, offering new hope for patients with inaccessible or inoperable tumors. For more information about Riverview Medical Center and Meridian Health, please call 1-800-DOCTORS or visit www.riverviewmedicalcenter.com.

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