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Olsrud family donates $12 million to Asante

An architect’s rendering shows what the new Asante pavilion will look like once it’s finished in 2023. The top two floors will be named the Olsrud Family Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
The gift, largest in Asante history, will support new women’s and children’s hospital

The Olsrud family, founders of Food 4 Less and Sherm’s Thunderbird grocery stores, has donated $12 million to the Asante Foundation — the largest gift in the foundation’s history.

The women’s and children’s hospital in a pavilion under construction on the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center campus in Medford will be named after the Olsrud family, Asante Foundation announced this week.

Construction of the building is slated to wrap up in July 2023, with the pavilion opening for patients in October 2023, the foundation said.

Sherm and Wanda Olsrud built their grocery store chain from the ground up, with Wanda Olsrud running the office and Sherm Olsrud handling the meat counter at their first 24-hour grocery store.

Sherm Olsrud passed away in 2019 after a lifetime of supporting local causes from food banks to scholarships to kids learning how to raise livestock.

The Olsrud family said the donation to support the pavilion continues the couple’s tradition of giving.

“As a family, we viewed this important project as a perfect opportunity to continue their legacy to ensure children and families have a dedicated space to thrive,” Steve Olsrud, owner of Sherm’s Markets and son of Sherm and Wanda Olsrud, said in a press release.

The Olsrud Family Women’s and Children’s Hospital will occupy the top two floors of the six-story pavilion. For the first time, the floors will bring pediatric and women’s services into one area of the hospital, Asante Foundation said.

“The Olsrud Family Women’s and Children’s Hospital at Asante Rogue Regional is where families will welcome new babies, where children will receive specialized care and where families from across our region will receive something precious that all children deserve — hope,” Andrea Reeder, Asante Foundation vice president and executive director, said in the press release. “We’re so grateful for the Olsruds’ leadership and generosity for patients who receive care in Southern Oregon.”

The two floors will include a pediatrics department, a clinic for children facing cancer and other illnesses that require infusions, the region’s highest level newborn intensive care unit, labor and delivery areas, a family newborn unit, obstetrics, a childbirth emergency department and support programs and services, Asante Foundation said.

Services on other floors of the pavilion will include critical care, cardiac care and advanced surgeries.

The announcement of the Olsrud family’s donation comes a few weeks after the Asante Foundation celebrated the new Mary and Dick Heimann Cancer Center not far from the pavilion.

Up until the Olsrud donation, the Heimanns had made the largest donation in Asante Foundation’s history with a gift of $5 million for the cancer center, the pavilion and other projects. The Heimanns helped grow Lithia Motors from an upstart Rogue Valley company into one of the nation’s largest car dealership businesses.

“Our hope was that our gift would become the second-largest gift in Asante’s history,” Dick and Mary Heimann said in the press release. “I am so inspired that the Olsrud family made this commitment.”

Asante Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Asante, has brought in more than $45 million toward an AsanteForward capital campaign goal to raise at least $50 million to expand and improve health care in the region.

“We’re getting close to the goal, but there’s so much need that we must keep going. I encourage everyone in the community to consider how they, too, can contribute what they can to AsanteForward,” Steve Olsrud said. “Whether a gift is $20 or millions, the need for life-saving services in Southern Oregon is critical to our growth and sustainability as a community, and everyone can make a difference.”

The Asante network includes Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Ashland Community Hospital and Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. A community-owned nonprofit organization, Asante serves nearly 600,000 people in nine Southern Oregon and Northern California counties.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.