Moss leaves hospital foundation very healthy

6 mins read
Alice Moss is shown here on a Goldwing motorcycle.
Alice Moss is shown here on a Goldwing motorcycle.

Staff reports

Growing up the daughter of a country doctor in rural North Carolina, Alice Beddingfield Moss had no aspiration to follow in her father’s footsteps. 

But despite her lack of interest in the medical profession as a youth, she would spend the greater part of her career working just like her dad to help improve the health and wellness of her community. 

Last month, Moss retired as executive director of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation. For nearly three decades she has served as the standard-bearer for charitable giving, helping raise $30 million for the only nonprofit hospital in the area. 

It was a vocation she serendipitously stumbled upon after moving to Beaufort in 1988 with her husband and two children.

A graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in American Studies and a master’s in Regional Planning, Moss started her career as a water quality and land use planner. She was working in North Carolina, administering a Community Development Block Grant Program, when her then-husband landed a job in the Lowcountry.

Perusing the help wanted classifieds in the local newspaper, she spotted an ad for a new position at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. 

“They were looking for someone who could launch a fundraising organization for the hospital,” Moss said. “I had experience working with boards and developing programs, so it was a comfortable thing for me to do.”

Hired initially as a part-time employee, she set up an office in an unused room in Beaufort Memorial’s surgical suite. From those humble beginnings, she built a department of seven employees that would go on to manage a wide range of fundraising ventures, including a $16 million endowment fund.

Over the years, the Foundation has contributed to every facet of the hospital, from the Keyserling Cancer Center to the Cochrane Heart Center. It has provided funding to purchase pediatric rehabilitation equipment for HealthLink for Children, all of the exercise machines in the LifeFit Wellness Center, nine advanced ventilators for the ICU, cutting-edge 3-D mammography (breast tomosynthesis) for the Breast Health Center and much more.

To achieve that kind of success required the support of both the community and hospital employees. Getting everyone on board took some doing. 

“Beaufort Memorial started out as a small county hospital, so there was this perception that we didn’t have much to offer,” Moss recalled. “It was an image we had to overcome.”

Moss also had difficulty convincing the hospital’s management team of the need for a foundation. 

“Up until then, there had never been any hospital-sponsored fundraising,” she said. 

It seemed even Mother Nature was putting up roadblocks. Her plans for the first major fundraiser had to be canceled when Hurricane Hugo hit the Lowcountry in the fall of 1989. But the following year, the Foundation hosted what would become its signature fundraising event – the Valentine Ball. Over the last 27 years, the wildly successful black-tie affair has raised more than $4.6 million. 

“It became our brand,” Moss said. “So many people think that’s all we do.”

Far from it. In addition to the Valentine Ball, Foundation staff members organize the Duke Symphony Orchestra fundraiser, plan receptions at private homes, host donor recognition events, send out thank-you letters to contributors and meet with all new hospital employees to encourage them to participate in Our BMH, a payroll deduction giving program. 

“Over the last 30 years, it has been impossible to think of the BMH Foundation without thinking also of Alice,” said BMH board of directors Chairman Terry Murray. “She has been an incredibly effective and passionate leader for the foundation’s mission.” 

Moss’s last official day at the helm of the Foundation was June 16. Eager to enjoy her well-earned retirement, she set off almost immediately on a trip to Europe that included a cruise down the Rhine. She also attended the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. 

“I plan to do a lot of traveling,” Moss said. “I’d also like to read more and take better care of myself. That includes using all that new equipment at the LifeFit Wellness Center.”

She plans to remain an active member of the Presbyterian Church of Beaufort and continue to sing with the Chancel Choir.

And after years of making up titles for books she’s always wanted to write, she’s finally going to put pen to paper. 

“I’m getting together with my sister to work on something,” she said. “Writing the titles was the easy part.”

Alice Moss, Ray Brown and Catherine Bennett meet SimMan, a computerized patient simulator, purchased for the hospital with funds raised by the Foundation in 2011.
Alice Moss, Ray Brown and Catherine Bennett meet SimMan, a computerized patient simulator, purchased for the hospital with funds raised by the Foundation in 2011.
Vic Varner and Alice Moss attend the 2016 Valentine Ball.
Vic Varner and Alice Moss attend the 2016 Valentine Ball.

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