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Local CEO donates $25 million for new MUSC Children's Hospital - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Local CEO donates $25 million for new MUSC Children's Hospital

BenefitFocus CEO Shawn Jenkins is donating $25 million to MUSC for its new children's hospital. (Photo Source: Live 5) BenefitFocus CEO Shawn Jenkins is donating $25 million to MUSC for its new children's hospital. (Photo Source: Live 5)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Shawn A. Jenkins, CEO and board member for BenefitFocus, pledged a record $25 million donation to MUSC to help build its new children's hospital.

MUSC President Dr. David J. Cole who made the announcement Thursday morning said announcements like this do not come often.

The donation was the largest ever made to MUSC and will help built the new MUSC Children's Hospital and Women's Pavilion next to the Ashley River Tower on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina.

The $25 million dollar gift was announced during the MUSC Board of Trustees meeting, where the trustees voted to name the new facility the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital.

“It sends a statement which is, this is a significant project,” said MUSC President Dr. David Cole. “The project requires the community and leaders in the community to step forward.”

The University is trying to raise a minimum of $35 million dollars, the 10 percent down-payment required for a HUD loan for the $350 million dollar facility, which is set to begin construction in April of 2016.

“It's hard to verbalize the impact that this gift will have at this point in time,” Cole said.

MUSC has a goal of raising $50 million dollars, and has been watching as South Carolina lawmakers so far have not been able to come up with funding for the project. When asked about the impasse in the legislature, Cole says he is "confident in a good outcome.”

The $25 million dollar gift was announced during the MUSC Board of Trustees meeting, where the trustees voted to name the new facility the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital.

Jenkins has lived in the Charleston area since 1989, and said his gift was motivated in part by his own family. He told Live 5 news his now 20 year old daughter needed the services of the MUSC Children's hospital when she was two months old.

“I was making $18-thousand dollars a year and was worried about paying for it, but the hospital was there for us,” Jenkins said. “The community has made our company successful,” he added and called the chance to give back to the community "a privilege of a lifetime.”

“I grew up in a single mom household and our family was worried about making ends meet,” he said.

Jenkins said he and his wife talked about the donation last night and said they cried about where we've come from. He said it's humbling his family is able to make this commitment to the MUSC Children's Hospital.

“The children who come here are at the most vulnerable point in their lives in terms of health and finances,” he said. "They need someone to stand in the gap with them. My family is fortunate to be able to do that.”

Jenkins is one of the founders of the Daniel Island-based provider of benefits technology. Jenkins also serves on the MUSC Foundation Board of Directors.

The announcement came just two days after a Senate bill that would have funded a variety of projects including the new hospital was cut from the larger budget proposal.

That bill, which was tried in both the House and Senate, would have allotted $20 million to the new children's hospital and women's pavilion, according to MUSC spokesperson Heather Woolwine.

The House added $25 million to its version of the budget when the bond bill died, using money the state already had.

Also, a line in the Capital Reserve bill, which was adjusted by the Senate on Tuesday, would provide funding if passed, but a dollar amount was not specified.

Lawmakers still have to hammer out a final version of the budget.

The new hospital is expected to open its doors in 2019.

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