On May 18, Mercer County Judge Christopher St. John approved a petition to transfer $21.9 million dollars from the Christian H. Buhl Legacy Trust to the Buhl Regional Health Foundation. The non-profit corporation now known as the Christian H. Buhl Legacy Trust was created in 1893 when a number of community leaders decided to build the first hospital in the Shenango Valley. The hospital was named in honor of Christian H. Buhl who made a number of contributions to the Shenango Valley. He was also the father of Frank H. Buhl, who along with wife Julia Forker Buhl founded Buhl Park in the early 1900s.
The nonprofit corporation went through two name changes and became known as Sharon Regional Health System in 1990. Sharon Regional Health System operated a hospital, outpatient health care facilities and physician practices until the April 1, 2014 sale of the assets to Community Health Systems. The sale sustained the existence of Sharon Regional Health System that continues to provide health care services to our community.
The Pennsylvania Senior Deputy Attorney General Eugene Herne was present at legal proceedings on February 26, 2014 that requested Mercer County Orphans’ Court approval of the sale of assets from Sharon Regional Health System to Community Health Systems and also at the May 4, 2016 hearing regarding the $21.9 million transfer to the Buhl Regional Health Foundation. The office of the Attorney General had no objections to either court order.
The Buhl Regional Health Foundation was created in 2012. Then known as the Sharon Regional Health Foundation, its mission was to support the hospital and health care operations. As an independent 501 (c)(3) charitable organization it focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the communities served by the Sharon Regional Health System.
Since the April 1, 2014 the sale of assets of Sharon Regional Health System, the Christian H. Buhl Legacy Trust concentrated on addressing its financial obligations. The Trust paid its debts, funded its pension obligations, and collected its accounts receivable. The wind down process continues. The transfer of funds to the Buhl Regional Health Foundation culminates the dedicated efforts of the Christian H. Buhl Legacy Trust board and staff to collect and manage funds.
Renamed the Buhl Regional Health Foundation in December 2014, its new mission is to identify and address the diverse health care needs of the greater Sharon regional area. Among the Foundation’s primary objectives will be the promotion of collaborative partnerships and programs and capacity building for organizations currently addressing community health needs, and targeted grants that will focus on and invest in all people impacted by health-related needs by achieving measurable results.
The Buhl Regional Health Foundation has an 18-member board of diverse professionals from throughout the region. Officers are: Attorney Ruthanne Beighley, Board Chair; James E. Feeney, Vice Chair; Angela Palumbo, Secretary; and Kenneth R. James, Treasurer. Michaelene Gula is the Executive Director.
Other members are Joann Bisson, Mary Ann Daniels, Attorney James P. Epstein, Mark Ferrara, Dr. George C. Garrow, Stephen J. Gurgovits, Rev. Dr. Glenn Hink, John Hudson, Lew G. Kachulis, Robert Liptak, Attorney Mary Ann Odem, Lizette Olsen, Riley Smoot, Jr., and Michael L. Wright.
Ms. Gula says, “Most importantly, our diverse board shares a deep understanding of the rare opportunity we have to create a lasting legacy that will significantly impact health and wellness in our region. During the last year I met with over 200 people representing nearly 80 agencies and programs in our community to learn what they believe are the most pressing health needs and I shared my findings with our board. Be assured that we will provide thoughtful stewardship of these funds and establish procedures to regularly solicit community input.”
The Foundation is located at 701 Pierce Ave. at the former Seventh Street Elementary School in Sharpsville. For more information please call Mickey Gula, Executive Director at
724-418-2750 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.