Hospital works through issues, hires new development officer

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Jesse Underwood

The chief executive officer of the Catalina Island Medical Center said this week there is no immediate plans to put its proposed transit tax on the November ballot, despite support of the city and capturing a significant vote during the April ballot.

“We’re working through the issues,” said CEO Jason Paret this week, adding that “there are too many issues to address to get on the November ballot.”

Although capturing more than 40 percent of voters in April, a hospital backed ballot measure to build a new facility was rejected by voters.

The reasons for the concern are now well known and Paret has been making the rounds with multiple stakeholder and voter groups trying to shore up support for a future measure.

In addition to investing more than $1 million in the current facility’s aging infrastructure, Paret said he has also hired a very experienced Chief Development Officer to raise funds and help coordinate a plan.

Among the improvements are a new fiber optic connection to keep the hospital’s information technology connected to overtown institutions for the x-rays and CT scans, he said. The hospital refurbished plumbing after a recent flood and upgraded its technology and equipment, Paret said.

Moving forward, Paret said he will continue meeting with various groups to satisfy all of the issues raised following the first proposal, and that the hospital’s new development officer will build a fundraising and execution strategy.

“Building a facility is a multi-year task,” said Paret, adding that the CIMC and its board are committed to answering all of the questions before putting another proposal before the public.

Paret said Jesse Underwood is the new Chief Development Officer at the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation, bringing to the role more than a decade of experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management.

“In this capacity, Jesse will lead efforts to facilitate philanthropic gifts and grants to advance the mission of the Foundation,” he said.

A graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, Davenport has held executive fundraising positions within both higher education and healthcare. Most recently, Parent said Davenport served as the Foundation Director for Pella Regional Health Center in Iowa.

During his time with Pella Regional, Davenport forged the way for the capital campaign to build a Family Birthing Center and the purchasing of advanced medical equipment to better serve the community.

While at Grinnell College, Davenport was a part of the 92 million-dollar campaign to develop the new athletic facility and natatorium. “I am a passionate advocate for the role that donors and funders can play in creating opportunity and improving lives,” said the CEO.

Jesse resides in Avalon with his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Jazz.

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