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Tricia Teter
Philanthropy Officer, Women’s & Children’s Services

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Published on March 18, 2021

A Frank family endowment will bring training and innovation to Women’s & Children’s Center

Family leaving hospital with infant

The newest technology for our newest additions

Monitors at the nurses’ station look like a bank of televisions at a restaurant, but here the main event on the screen is not the big game or a new show, it’s new life. Nurses keep a close eye on their sick or premature infant patients, just hours or days old, making sure the babies are positioned appropriately for their more delicate conditions — without revealing the newborns’ identities to passers-by. For families with extenuating circumstances who are not able to visit the NICU, parents also can check on their little ones when they are not at the hospital through access of a secure website on their phone or computer.

A generous endowment from a treasured local family will bring more of this kind of technology to the Women’s & Children’s Center.

“This endowment will allow us to move forward with innovative ways to support our babies, families and our team,” says Juanyetta Beasley, DHA, RN-CNML, nursing director for Neonatal ICU and the Neonatal/Pediatric Infant Nutrition Center. “The generous gift allows us to look forward as we imagine future possibilities.” 

To understand how this crucial financial gift took root, let’s step into the lobby of the Cone Health Women’s & Children’s Center.

When you enter the airy, light-filled space, you’re welcomed by a wall of beautiful flowers and butterflies, a greeting area named in honor of one of Greensboro’s beloved couples — William “Bill” and Hughlene Frank, both of whom died in a house fire in May 2019. Their legacy of compassion and philanthropy continues through the Stanley and Dorothy Frank Family Foundation, which has established an endowment for the center in Bill and Hughlene Franks’ names.

Family and friends say the endowment is a way to preserve the memory of two local philanthropists for years to come while continuing their commitment to the health and well-being of local residents.

The lobby may be the most prominent reminder of the Franks’ generosity, but much more is to come, including additional technology to help nurses tend to their precious patients. Less visible to patients and visitors — but just as important — are the professional development opportunities provided to the staff through the endowment, according to Beasley.

“The science is always changing. If we want to continue to give exceptional care to our patients and families, we have to make sure we're abreast of the latest training and information,” she says.  

The Frank Family Foundation is named for Bill Franks’ parents, Stanley and Dorothy Frank. For most of his career, Bill worked alongside his father and his brother, Barry, at their family-owned business, Carolina By-Products.

Barry Frank believes his brother would be especially pleased that the endowment supports a birthing center. Born prematurely at only 2 pounds 14 ounces — long before neonatal intensive care units were the norm — Bill Frank knew firsthand what it meant to overcome health-related adversities.

“The care Bill received all the way back in 1941 saved his life,” says Barry, president of the family’s foundation.

The endowment honoring Bill and Hughlene will continue to provide comfort to expectant families in 2021 and beyond. Plans call for modifying communal spaces within the Women’s and Children’s Center — like the education room and family lounge — for the era of COVID-19. Hospital staff members are considering using the endowment to install Plexiglass dividers to accommodate more users safely.

The gift gives administrators such as Beasley the flexibility to plan for the long-term, one of the greatest gifts of all.

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