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      Cancer center project gets $500K matching grant

      Traverse City Rotary Charities has given a $500,000 challenge grant for the Cancer Center at Munson.

      A project to bring a state-of-the-art cancer center to northern Michigan moves forward with a $500,000 matching grant.

      Rotary Charities of Traverse City has announced a $500,000 challenge grant for the Cowell Family Cancer Center at Munson Medical Center.

      Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation President Desiree Worthington said the Rotary Charities generosity helps the Foundation move forward on efforts to realize a cancer center for northwest Michigan.

      â??Rotary Charitiesâ?? support for the cancer center has great meaning. It really underscores the importance this project has for the region,â?? she said. â??We are thankful to have them behind this effort. Not only have they given us this very generous sum, but they are helping us secure other resources for the Cowell Family Cancer Center as well.â??

      The Rotary Charitiesâ?? challenge grant is set up to match every dollar donated beginning Jan.21, 2013, up to $500,000. Rotary Charities Executive Director Marsha Smith said the grant is beyond the scope of the organizationâ??s typical grant budget, but was approved by the Rotary Charities Board in recognition of the positive impact a cancer center would have on the region.

      â??Twenty-five years ago we supported the Biederman Cancer Center in recognition of the importance of providing those kinds of services. We understand the treatment of cancer has evolved and we recognize the importance of providing a world-class cancer center for our region,â?? she said. â??For us, itâ??s just not about the technology, but that the cancer center will offer coordinated care and transform the standards of care for the region.â??

      Philanthropy for the cancer center began with a $5-million gift from Traverse City resident Casey Cowell in Dec. 2011.

      The vision for a cancer center includes a state-of-the-art facility with coordinated cancer services in one building. The center will be designed to anticipate the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of each patient and will transform the standard for cancer care in northern Michigan.

      Planning for the cancer center is still in the early phases and project leaders are working with an architect and a construction management firm to determine square footage, what services the new facility will provide, and to refine project costs. This planning phase will define the scope and budget needed for final approval and construction.

      Timing of the project is contingent on the availability of financial resources and other factors. With community support, the earliest the project would break ground is the spring of 2014.

      â??The Rotary Charities grant will bring us to more than $13.5 million in charitable support for the estimated $45 million project,â?? Worthington said.

      Since its inception in the mid-70s, Rotary Charities has distributed more than $55 million in the form of grants to organizations and non-profits in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska, and Antrim counties.