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March 20, 2024

Heart of a Donor: Generous Community Members Support Modernization

Inspired by Health Care Connections and Pride of Local Community

ThedaCare recently announced the completion of the $100 million investment to modernize ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. The Inspired Past; Healthier Future modernization of the campus is transforming health care for all those living in the region, and allows ThedaCare to continue its commitment to keeping care local in the Fox Cities.

The updates advance coordinated care throughout the ThedaCare service area, including critical access hospitals, giving patients greater access to innovative and specialized care. The advancements support the campus that currently provides critical care services, such as the region’s only Level II Trauma Center, certified Comprehensive Stroke Center and Emergency Department.

Generous Community Support

Throughout the last century, significant updates have been completed at the original hospital, which is now known as ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.

“Many of the upgrades to the hospital have been supported by community members, local businesses and organizations,” said Barbara Beuscher, CFRE, ThedaCare Chief Philanthropy Officer and Senior Vice President. “The support from those who live, work and love this area is vital to success, as a health system and an overall community.”

The recently completed Modernization Project was funded in part through donors who support the ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah, which raised more than $15 million from generous community donors. The Foundation released $27 million from existing assets to provide a total of $42 million to support the project.

“We can achieve so much together when we dedicate our resources to the people, programs and places we are passionate about,” said Beuscher. “The ThedaCare Family of Foundations’ mission is to be the catalyst that drives innovation and provides funding for initiatives that empower people to live their best lives.”  

A Special Connection to the Hospital

The Modernization Project outlined the need for generous community donors to support the enhancements, allowing ThedaCare to continue the strong legacies of clinical excellence and community commitment.

“Top quality local health care is critical to the overall strength of our community,” said John F. Bergstrom, Executive Chairman of Bergstrom Automotive and ThedaCare Foundation-Neenah Board Member Emeritus. “The legacy of philanthropic generosity and pride in this hospital remains very strong.”

The Bergstrom Family has a deep connection to the Neenah campus.

“My wife, Dianne, worked at the hospital for 30 years as a registered nurse,” said Mr. Bergstrom. “In honor of her tenure, and in recognition of her dedication to patients, our family made the decision to make a significant contribution to the $100M Modernization Project at ThedaCare.”

Mr. Bergstrom asked if she would like to direct their gift to be used in a specific area of the project.

“She said, out of respect for the nearly one thousand people that work to make this facility operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day, I would like them to have new, first-class quality dining facilities,” Mr. Bergstrom recalled.

The family’s gift helped ThedaCare create new dining facilities on the main floor for the convenience of visitors and team members. Mr. Bergstrom noted that they are incredibly proud of the ongoing support from the overall community to make this major hospital transformation possible.

“Our community has been blessed to have exceptional health care in our area for more than 100 years,” he said. “This is one of the keystone pieces that makes our community the very special place that it is for all of us. Our family is incredibly appreciative of the doctors, nurses and staff who continue to demonstrate the outstanding commitment to excellence.”

Investing in the Future

A special connection to health care is also the reason the Doug and Carla Salmon Foundation made the decision to support the Modernization Project, specifically the Graduate Medical Education Program (GME).

The goal of the GME program is to prepare physicians to care for tomorrow’s health needs and challenges by creating advanced training opportunities for individuals who have completed medical school, including residencies, fellowships, internships and other specialty programs. Initial residencies planned will support growing primary care and specialty physician needs of communities.

Studies show nearly 55% of individuals who complete residency training remain in the community to practice medicine in which they train. Implementing a GME program at ThedaCare directly aligns with the organization’s commitment to enhancing access to care for the people in the region by recruiting and retaining highly trained physicians.

Serving across the entire ThedaCare system, the GME program will be housed at the Neenah campus. Upon completion, ThedaCare will be one of the first health systems in Northeast Wisconsin to offer an accredited GME program.

Representatives from the Doug and Carla Salmon Foundation say the family is proud to support ThedaCare’s GME Program. Doug was a family physician for 15 years in Appleton and Carla was a Director of Clinical Laboratory at a local hospital. Their passion for health care and education provide a nearly perfect fit for this support from their family foundation. Doug and Carla’s commitment to their community also aligns with this program as it strives to train and retain physicians in the Fox Valley for years to come.

Supporting Women, Mothers and Families

The Modernization Project also includes an important update to the Theda Clark Peters Family Birth Center, including modern furniture for partners and family members supporting new moms and babies. The new amenities provide a comfortable, soothing space, with new finishes, furniture, and paint.

The new Women’s Center is designed to be a comfortable space where patients can feel confident in personalized, proactive health care decisions in a spa-like environment. Services include screening and diagnostic Mammography (with three mammography pods), Ultrasound Imaging, and Bone Density (DEXA) testing in one location.

The updates to the Family Birth Center and creation of the new Women’s Center were made possible with support from donors like Amcor Cares, the charitable arm of Amcor Flexibles North America (AFNA). AFNA is co-headquartered in Oshkosh.

“Accessible, high-quality health care is a fundamental pillar of well-being for our neighbors here in the Fox Valley,” said Ethan Haas, an Amcor vice president and Amcor Cares Board of Trustees chair. “Our investment in the ThedaCare Modernization project, particularly the family birth and women’s health areas, reflects our dedication to supporting life’s most critical moments. We’re proud to contribute to a project that aligns so closely with our values of care, community and innovation.”

“It’s inspiring to hear the stories and reasons why our generous donors choose to support ThedaCare’s enhancements to ensure those living in this area have the most up-to-date technology and facilities,” said Beuscher. “Their gifts stay local and help our families, friends and neighbors improve their health and well-being.”

To see a complete list of donors who supported the $100M Modernization Project at ThedaCare, please visit

Heart of a Donor Series

This article is part of a planned series featuring generous donors who support the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. Donations to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations help fund projects and programs on many levels across the system. If you know a donor, or community organization, who has a connection to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, and believe should be featured in the “Heart of a Donor” series, please email

To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, please visit