Rolando “Roly” A Every Bit Helps

“Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and make a stretch gift that is meaningful to you.”

An employee’s experience made the importance of Community Medical Center (CMC) clearer than ever to Rolando “Roly” Acosta.

“This employee had a neurology problem and had it checked out by the right people at CMC,” says Acosta, President and Chief Executive Officer of JAG Companies, Inc., a family-owned and -operated parent company of multiple construction-industry firms, and a member of the CMC Foundation Board of Trustees. “The right doctors and support at CMC gave him better quality of life for a longer period.”

Acosta was well aware of CMC’s vital role in the local community at the time of his employee’s illness five years ago. “But it really brought home what our work does,” he says—“to get people like this employee the expert care they need to figure out what’s going on and take the best steps possible to address the problem.”

Strengthening a Pillar

Acosta has been familiar with CMC since his move to Toms River in 1986.

Growing up in the area, he saw the hospital as an ever-present community pillar. He attended occasional hospital events as he became a business leader in adulthood but didn’t initially give much thought to what it takes to sustain a community hospital, keep it responsive to changing times, position it as a leader and make it grow.

“That changed when I went on vacation with a friend who was a CMC employee,” Acosta recalls. “He inquired about my interest in being more involved with the hospital.” After having subsequent conversations with his friend and hospital leadership, “I thought there was an opportunity for taking more of a role in the community, the hospital and fundraising,” he says.

Recently, Acosta made a decision on behalf of the family to step up financial support beyond annual giving with a family gift of $50,000.

“With all of the exciting changes at CMC, we wanted to step outside of our comfort level and make a commitment above and beyond what we have in the past,” he says. “This is the first gift we’ve made of this magnitude to CMC.”

Factors he finds particularly significant for CMC’s future include CMC and Foundation executive leadership, the expanding ranks of expert physicians and other clinical staff, establishment of an academic program with medical residents, access to advanced resources throughout the entire RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) system, new or enhanced facilities and the heroic efforts that CMC’s health care professionals have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a new time for CMC,” Acosta says. “I want CMC to be a medical center of choice that is a destination for our community and beyond. If local residents need a specialist, we don’t want to travel to New York City or Philadelphia; we want access to care right here in our town, county or area. We’re well on the way to building that vision at CMC.”

Diverse Giving

Acosta says he’s becoming more personally aware of why state-of-the-art health care is increasingly important with age, especially in a community with a sizable retiree population.

“Like a lot of people, I hope to be here a long time, and whatever ailment I end up with, I want somebody here for me—to have the right doctors in place if something happens,” Acosta says. “It’s important that CMC is growing to accommodate multiple problems.”

For example, he sees and hears through members of the community how important it is that RWJBH and CMC, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—provide close-to-home access to the most advanced cancer treatment options.

He notes that a generational shift needs to take place in benevolence and philanthropy for initiatives such as the Campaign to Transform CMC, which is spearheading support for major hospital projects.

“We need to find the next leadership group beyond the people the hospital has traditionally relied upon for support,” he says. “More people need to pick up the ball and run with it.” He hopes his family gift provides an example.

“Gifts like this help drive a number of important initiatives,” says Jennifer Shufran, Vice President, CMC Foundation. “Whether it supports our cancer center, equipment purchases, capital improvements or projects such as renovating a courtyard for employees and visitors to enjoy a respite or lunch, giving supports the community by helping ensure that high-quality care is available for people where and when they need it.”

Support can also comprise other forms of giving, Acosta notes. “For some people, support means opening doors, hosting events and facilitating conversations about fundraising,” he says. “Those people are leaders just like those who write checks.” And financial support doesn’t have to include only big donors, especially during tough economic times. “Maybe five people come together and give what they can to match what one person might have done in the past,” he says.

Nevertheless, he challenges community leaders to “consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and make a stretch gift that is meaningful to you.” Looking at how much CMC has changed since his youth and will continue to change going forward, “it doesn’t happen by itself,” Acosta says. “Give what you can. Every bit helps.”

Learn more about giving at Community Medical Center.