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Jackson: Physician’s fund in Chamberlain’s capable hands

Carol Chamberlain

Carol Chamberlain

Poetically speaking, it’s a unity anchored in perpetuity. I’m speaking here of the West Yavapai Physician’s Foundation, an endowment fund established in 2004 by five founding fathers focusing on financial assistance to benefit health care of the area’s citizenry.

The stated mission of the fund is “to enhance the medical care of residents of Western Yavapai County by making grants to charitable organizations serving this community. Grants may be for direct services, medical education, scholarships or building the capacity of existing charitable organizations in this field and region and other purposes as determined by the advisors.”

Those “founding father” visionaries include, alphabetically, medical doctors Wayne Beck, J.B. McNally, John Oakley, Manus Spanier and William Thrift. Beck is deceased, but Oakley and Thrift still serve as WYPF advisors along with fellow M.D.s William Halterman, Dhirendra Patel and Jennifer Waara.

It was Oakley -- who retired from his Prescott practice of surgery, ER and family medicine in 2001 -- who introduced me to Carol Chamberlain, regional director of the Arizona Community Foundation of Yavapai County, which manages both the investment of money into the fund and distribution of grants to the organizations being supported.

Chamberlain’s qualifications for the job, incidentally, are impeccable, Oakley said, as her background includes work in years past as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner.

Nancy Watson, an experienced medical assistant and recorder, serves as secretary of the foundation on a volunteer basis, and both have been “delightful to work with,” according to Oakley.

The fund’s initial balance in 2004 stood at $434,000, and the current balance is $476,000 after some $251,000 has been distributed over the years to recipients. How can this be, one might ask?

Well, Chamberlain notes that a donor-advised endowment fund invests, so the endowment will last forever — the gift that keeps giving.

Topping the list of recipients of WYPF funds over the years has been the Yavapai College Nursing Program, which offers a three-year Associate of Applied Science degree that allows students to take the state exam to become registered nurses, with more than $80,000 having been awarded to that program since 2004.

Chamberlain also noted, “beyond its support for the Nursing Program, the Foundation has contributed more than $80,000 to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center and to other worthy causes in Yavapai County” since its inception.

Oakley also pointed out to me that the structure of the WYPF, which has been in place since its inception, is being altered in that meetings of the participating advising doctors are being discontinued. So henceforth Chamberlain — who took control of the Arizona Community Foundation affiliate in Yavapai County in 2011 following the tenure of Kristi Edwards, who had held the position since the WYPF’s 2004 get-go — will now oversee the application and distribution function in its entirety.

However, she will continue to welcome information and suggestions from the group of medical advisors. “It’s a win-win situation,” Oakley remarked, in that he stresses that the ACF has provided excellent investment and monitoring services and Chamberlain is the perfect person to oversee its continuation.

For additional information, contact Chamberlain at 928-499-9795 or cchamberlain@azfoundation.org.

Contact the columnist at editorial@prescottaz.com.

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