A Gift For the Next Generation

Allan and Lee Gilbert are giving back after a successful career. Longtime supporters of  Beverly Hospital, the Boxford couple has committed to donating $1 million toward major capital improvements at the hospital.

“We have been patients at Lahey and Beverly Hospital for many years,” Allan said. “We’ve been very fortunate in life, and we look for good things to do. Lahey was at the top of our list.”

The Gilberts’ gift is in support of a new two-story inpatient building with 28 new maternity rooms and 12 new labor and delivery rooms. The existing facilities will be upgraded to include 22 new private medical/surgical rooms. This generous donation is in keeping with the Gilberts’ faith in both the caregivers and leaders at Beverly Hospital. “It’s a world-class organization, and I admire the way in which they keep reinventing themselves,” said Allan.

The Power of Reinvention
Allan, a pioneer in the application of management analysis tools to vending, knows something about reinvention. He is still a consultant after retiring from a full-time career a number of years ago. Allan founded New England Vending Corp., and led its expansion into a leading regional provider of full-line vending, coffee service and food-service management. He then founded Data Intelligence Systems Corp., which supplied computer hardware and management software packages to vending companies. Following that, he established Merrimac Financial Associates, which became publicly owned in 1998, and became managing partner of the Merrimac Consulting Group. Lee stays active teaching ballet and is an accomplished horsewoman who shows dressage horses.

The Gilberts have been generous donors to Lahey in the past, helping to fund new operating rooms and other projects. When they heard about the opportunity to upgrade Beverly’s maternity facilities, they leaped at the chance to help the next generation of the community’s residents. The hospital delivers 2,400 babies each year — the highest number of births in any hospital north of Boston — and demand is climbing. The hospital’s neonatologists and nurses care for hundreds of babies a year in the Level II Special Care Nursery.

By expanding and modernizing the facilities, Beverly Hospital will be able to provide new parents with spacious, comfortable surroundings where mothers can recuperate and families can share the special moments of early bonding with their newborns. The reception area of Beverly Hospital will be named after the Gilberts.

Enhancing a Community Resource
As the Gilberts know, living close to a high-quality hospital is important in so many ways. Patients who live near Beverly Hospital are able to get excellent care while being near to their families. When emergencies occur, there is no time to waste. The hospital provides 24-hour emergency services, and the Emergency Department is a Level III trauma center.

Helping to enhance and expand such an important community resource gives the Gilberts a sense of pride. “We’ve received such a highly professional level of care over the years at Lahey and Beverly Hospitals,” Allan said. “It makes us feel good to be a part of this kind of growth and planning and doing good in the community.”

Allan says he learned the importance of philanthropy from his father, a Russian immigrant who owned a small market in Charlestown. “When I was about 12 years old, my father was helping an employee who had just graduated from high school and needed money to attend college. My father made up the difference between what the young man’s scholarship provided and what he would need to pay. I said, ‘Dad, why did you do it?’ He answered, ‘For two reasons. First, he needed help and it’s important to help when you’re able to. Second, it makes you feel so damned good. Every time I give money, I think of that phrase, and how true it is.”