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Brian Robinson’s Community Challenge Reaches $1 Million Goal

After just three months, we are excited to announce the Brian Robinson $1 million Community Challenge for the Foundation’s Capital Campaign has been met. We are incredibly grateful to Brian and the nearly 180 people who donated to the campaign with individual gifts ranging from $25 to $50,000. Of those donors, 64 gave $1,000 or more to the campaign and 55 people made their first contribution to Pardee Hospital Foundation. Surprisingly, the challenge’s three largest gifts were all from new donors who were inspired by Robinson’s challenge to the community and decided to pledge their support to their new hometown as well.

Many will remember that Brian Robinson pledged $500,000 to the $6 million Capital Campaign in a surprise public announcement at our 19th Annual Women Helping Women luncheon on October 28. There, Robinson issued a challenge to the community to raise an additional $250,000, which he would match dollar for dollar to reach a total of $1 million. This is the largest gift to the campaign since it began in April 2015, pushing the total raised to date to $5 million from just 515 donors.   

“The enthusiastic response to Brian’s challenge has been gratifying and heartwarming,” said Kimerly Hinkelman, executive director of Pardee Hospital Foundation. “With less than $1 million to go, we are reaching out to people to encourage them to help us finish this historic achievement and become a part of the future of health care in Henderson County. Not only will the Cancer Center treat and cure thousands of our friends, family members and neighbors over the next 25 years, but the Health Sciences Center will help to educate and produce a majority of health care providers who will take care of us for the next 50 years.”

“I am honored to match the community’s generous $250,000 contribution, bringing the total to $1 million for the new Cancer Center at Pardee,” said Robinson. “Our community is strongest when we work together and I am proud to call Henderson County my home.”

The Cancer Center opened in December 2016 through an innovative collaboration with Henderson County, the City of Hendersonville, Wingate University and Blue Ridge Community College. The new, state-of-the-art health sciences building also houses Pardee Surgical Associates as well as existing programs in allied health care, pharmacy, and physician assistant studies from Blue Ridge Community College and Wingate University.

Robinson is originally from east Tennessee and became affiliated with the region as an actor with the Flat Rock Playhouse many years ago. He only recently decided to put down roots in Henderson County to make it his permanent residence, buying a home in Flat Rock in 2015. When asked why this gift and why give to the Cancer Center at Pardee Hospital, Robinson notes that he’s been blessed with good health his whole life and like so many others, took it for granted. It was on a two-week intensive health retreat last fall in California that Robinson says he underwent a transformative experience that at the time wasn’t apparent. It was only upon his return and a visit to the Cancer Center with his friend and capital campaign committee member Debbie Rouse that the true impact of his retreat surfaced. This behind the scenes tour was instrumental in Brian’s “aha” moment and we’re so grateful that it happened.

Andrew Schmidt

Andrew Schmidt joined Pardee Hospital Foundation in November 2023 as a Donor Engagement Officer. Andrew began his career in fundraising at his alma mater, Sewanee: The University of the South, as an assistant director in charge of reunions and volunteers, working on milestone giving campaigns as well as alumni engagement and stewardship events. Andrew holds a BA in Philosophy from Sewanee and recently earned a MA in Applied Arts & Sciences from the Liberal and Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Andrew previously served the Henderson Country community as an Advancement Analyst at nearby Kanuga Conference Center, where he was responsible for donor database administration, prospect research, and raising funds in support of a $15M capital campaign centered on a comprehensive renovation of the then-47-year-old Kanuga Lake Inn. Andrew looks forward to helping advance the mission of UNC Health and Pardee Hospital Foundation across the Western North Carolina region, and particularly in Transylvania County. When he’s not out and about visiting with donors, you can usually find Andrew scampering around DuPont and Pisgah with his wife, Sara and preschool-age son, Arthur.