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Bancroft Fund gives $1 million to create Bob Bird Waiting Area

Published on Thursday, October 8, 2020

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

Thanks to a $1 million gift from the Joseph C. Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund, Children’s of Mississippi patients and their families will receive a send-off as hospitable as their welcome to the state’s only children’s hospital.

The children’s hospital expansion at UMMC will now include the Bob Bird Waiting Area, a place where families can prepare comfortably for going from hospital to home. The space will also be used in conjunction with events at the adjacent chapel.

Portrait of Bob Bird

“One of the Bancroft Fund’s core values is improving the health of Mississippi’s children,” said Gerald M. Abdalla, director of the McComb-based nonprofit. “This gift will honor one of the Bancroft Fund’s leaders, Bob Bird, as well as help families heading home from the hospital with a transition space that will give a good start to their children’s follow-up care.”

The Bob Bird Waiting Area will be a comfortable spot where discharged patients can wait for transportation, medications, car seats or other needed equipment before going home.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said the Bancroft Fund’s donation to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi will make the new children’s hospital tower a much more accommodating space for patients and their families.

“Mississippi is known for its hospitality,” Woodward said. “In the Bob Bird Waiting Area, our patients and their families will be able to transition to going home with the comfort and reassurance they need.”

The Bancroft Fund has been heavily involved with Children’s of Mississippi during the last 24 years, Abdalla said. “This included the fund’s $2.5 million gift to renovate the Croft Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in 2009, which provides care to the state’s most critically ill and injured children.”

The Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund was formed in 1996 upon the death of Joseph C. Bancroft, founder of Croft, LLC, a manufacturer of vinyl and aluminum windows and doors. The McComb-based nonprofit supports charitable and educational programs by offering financial support, leadership and guidance to qualifying organizations in the state of Mississippi.

Bob Bird has been involved with Croft since 1985 when he was an audit partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. For 11 years he was in charge of Croft’s annual audit. After Bancroft’s death, Bird became chairman and president of the Joseph C. Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund. He continues to serve today as a director of the Bancroft Fund.

“Bob’s service to Croft and the Bancroft Charitable Fund spans 35 years and is ongoing,” Abdalla said. “His name being given to an area where children will transition to home from a hospital stay is an honor that reflects his values.”