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An Inspired Gift

Published in Press

Percelay Family Donates $10 Million to Complete Campus

For Bruce and Elisabeth Percelay, Nantucket Cottage Hospital is more than just the only medical center on the island, it’s where their children, William and Charlie, were born. The hospital is the safety net for their family and for the community they love. 

That relationship and the Percelays’ passion to make a difference on Nantucket were manifested over the summer in the largest family gift in the history of the island: a $10 million contribution to Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s capital campaign. 

This transformational challenge gift is intended not only to inspire others to join the campaign and move the hospital closer toward its dynamic new facility, but also to secure the future of the institution by creating an actual hospital campus complete with new housing for medical staff. 

“This enormously generous gift is important on many levels, not the least of which is that it is coming from a family that has been so involved with the hospital on a personal level,” said Dr. Margot Hartmann, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “It is truly a game-changer for our campaign.”

It was at the Percelays' direction to expand the scope of the campaign which will ultimately result in not only a cutting edge hospital but a unified campus. The expanded campaign will also fulfill the potential of the new building by marshalling the resources necessary to staff it with the best programs and best clinical staff. A key part of that equation is addressing the enormous challenge of affordable housing for the hospital in the midst of an island-wide housing crisis. 

“Elisabeth and I consider housing for hospital staff to be almost a medical care delivery issue – if we don’t have the people and the programs to deliver high quality care, the building is nothing more than bricks and mortar,” said Bruce Percelay. “And by addressing the housing needs of our community’s hospital, it will reduce the pressure on the island’s housing supply in general.”

The Percelays' extraordinary gift to the hospital was just their latest contribution to support the Nantucket community. Bruce, the chairman and founder of The Mount Vernon Company, and Elisabeth, who practiced international law at Ernst and Young, have devoted their time and energy over the years to supporting a wide range of Nantucket non-profit organizations. Bruce was also

a driving force behind the building of the Nantucket Whaling Museum, and is the publisher of

N Magazine. Elisabeth now serves on the board of the hospital and is heavily involved in the family’s hotels on the island.

Together they have taken the lead in expanding Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s capital campaign to encompass the strategic initiatives that will create a thriving, sustainable health care organization for generations to come. But the Percelay family’s commitment and belief in the hospital were perhaps best expressed by their decision to select it as the place where their two children, William and Charlie, were born.

“We could have selected any major hospital to have our children but chose to have them here. It was a conscious decision based upon our belief in the Nantucket Cottage Hospital,” Elisabeth said.

This Letter to the Editor from the Percelay’s appeared in the Inquirer and Mirror on September 15, 2016

In the few short months since our gift to the Nantucket Cottage Hospital was announced at the Pops concert, we have had an extraordinary experience. 

The outpouring of support from all parts of this island has been something we will never forget. We have had firemen come up to us and express their thanks, cab drivers not take our fare, baggage handlers at the airport give us hugs, people with chronic illnesses approach us in tears and kind letters of thanks in our mailbox from total strangers. The feedback we have received makes it very clear how much this new hospital will mean to those who call Nantucket their home and those who cherish their summers on the island.

Despite having come to Nantucket for many years, we are not true natives. We are just people who love this island, were married here and had our children born at the hospital. For us, there is no more special place on this earth and the expressions of appreciation and gratitude from across the island has only reinforced our belief in the goodness of Nantucket. 

As you know, we desperately need and deserve a first rate hospital and quality housing to support its staff. We are by no means responsible for this project happening but are rather one of many helping to make the new hospital a reality. With the continued support from all Nantucketers, this project will soon become a reality.  It is one thing to build a community hospital but it is another thing to have a hospital built by a community. When this campus is finally complete, it will be the result of an island wide effort that only a place like Nantucket can produce.

For all those who have expressed their thanks to us and those who have supported this hospital in any way, we would like to offer our deepest appreciation. While ours was a gift to Nantucket, this has truly been a gift to us.

Bruce & Elisabeth Percelay

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