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Hayswood Foundation, Inc.
1 W. McDonald Parkway, Suite 3A, Maysville, Ky. 41056
Phone:  (606) 563-9333    Fax:  (606) 563-9444
Hayswood Hospital Foundation, Inc., as the organization was originally known, was formed in November, 1973, and officially incorporated in February, 1974.  The "Hospital" portion of the name would be removed in 1985, following the closing of Hayswood Hospital, in Maysville.

As early as 1972, a foundation was proposed which would allow individuals to make donations to assist Hayswood Hospital in purchasing special equipment and providing additional services that could not be accomplished with the facility's normal income, alone.  In 1973, recommendations from attorneys included articles of incorporation and bylaws for a charitable foundation that could handle assets in the existing endowment fund, as well as other investment properties of the Hospital.  The new foundation would also become a vehicle for future fundraising for the Hospital.  The Hospital could tap the assets of the foundation for future expansion projects and the purchase of needed equipment by submitting requests to the Foundation’s board of directors.  During the early years, the Foundation board met mainly to receive and approve funding requests from the Hospital board.


A capital campaign to fund the construction of a new regional hospital got under way in 1980.  Some donors had questioned what would happen with donations if the new hospital were not built.  A policy was approved that would return all cash donations to the donors, less expenses incurred to date, if the construction was not completed. 

By October of 1980, preparations for the new hospital were in full swing.  Already obtained were the site for the building, plans for a facility to cost approximately $12 million, and $2.5 to $3 million in donations from local residents.  The final hurdles were the actual construction, and the successful offering of a $10 million bond issue.  The Foundation would contribute enough funds to the Hospital to do initial site work, lay a foundation, and contract for steel framing.  However, construction plans were halted when, in the summer of 1981, negotiations with Hospital Corporation of America were finalized for the purchase of the Hospital’s operations.


In the fall of 1981, legal research went into various alternatives regarding the refund of contributions received for the construction of the regional hospital.  No action would be taken until the deal with Hospital Corporation of America was finalized.  After closing, a declaratory judgment would be sought to allow the money to be returned to the donors who so requested.  Following the court action, an IRS ruling would be sought to protect the Foundation’s tax-exempt status.  The bylaws of the Foundation would not permit the money to be diverted to any other charities that were not health related.  A merger of the Foundation with the Hospital was discussed, but was not found to be appropriate at that time.

n December of 1981, the Hospital approved the return of all money that had been received from the Foundation for the restricted purpose of constructing the new hospital.  The amount totaled $1,824,600.  A letter was approved for contacting contributors about the status of their donations.

Of the land purchased for construction of the new hospital, ninety-five acres remained after the HCA buyout.  Over the following thirteen years, parcels would be sold as locations for the Denham Clinic, and a new city fire station.  The Maysville-Mason County Industrial Authority would purchase approximately sixty acres, a portion of which is now occupied by Federal Mogul. 


Discussions began in December 1981 about the future role of the Foundation.  By June of the following year, a committee was formed to work out a new mission, whether health-related or otherwise, that would maintain the Foundation’s charitable status as a 501(c)3 organization.  A determination would need to be made about the types of charities that would be supported, and the geographical area covered.  A change in the Foundation’s name was also suggested, eliminating the word “Hospital.”  In April of 1985, the amended Articles of Incorporation were approved, and the name of the organization was changed to Hayswood Foundation, Inc.


During the early years, the Foundation’s only distributions were to Hayswood Hospital for the purchase medical equipment, and for building renovation and expansion.  After the sale of the Hospital’s operations to HCA, providing support for health and recreation were selected as the Foundation’s new purpose ("Recreation" would later be removed.), and the geographical territory was limited to Mason County, and contiguous counties in Kentucky and Ohio.  Not coincidentally, this territory was also the area serviced by Hayswood Hospital. 

The first grant went to the Limestone Youth Orchestra in July of 1985, to purchase a piano that would be maintained at Maysville Community College, and used by the College choir as well as other community organizations. 

In August of 1985, a committee was formed to set up procedures for distributing grants, creating an application, and establishing an annual deadline.  The first grant review committee was formed in May of 1986.  Three applications had been received, with more expected by the June 15 deadline.  The target amount for total grants was set at $250,000.  

One of the first major projects considered for Foundation funding was the construction of a new YMCA facility.  In 1986, an immediate distribution of $500,000 was approved, with an additional $100,000 to be paid each year for five consecutive years (Fourteen years later the YMCA would be the beneficiary of a second capital grant, this time for up to $830,000 to help fund a 15,000 square foot expansion project.).

In 1991, a new set of application guidelines and a new application form for review and approval.  This was the beginning of the grant program as it now exists.  Later that spring, a capital grant of $1 million was approved for the Tom Browning Boys & Girls Club. 

In 1995, St. Patrick’s Parochial School was awarded $750,000 to renovate existing classrooms, and to construct additional classrooms as well as a gymnasium.  In 1998, $32,600 was awarded to The Maysville Players for rewiring the Washington Opera Theatre.  The Players would receive an additional 5-year grant totaling $260,000 in 2004, as part of a multi-million dollar project for major renovations to the Theatre.  In 2002, Maysville’s Women’s Crisis Center was awarded up to $300,000 to be used for the purchase and renovation of a new shelter building.  The Maysville & Mason County Museum (now known as the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center) was awarded $750,000 in 2003 to construct a new building adjacent to the old museum, and replacing the 1952 library building that had housed the Museum’s library and research facilities.

Since 1985, and through 2019, the Foundation has awarded approximately $9.2 million in grants for projects large and small. 


On April 9, 1995, Mrs. Elsie Hatfield Downing passed away in Maysville.  Mrs. Downing had been known as a woman who loved the Mason County community, and wanted to make a difference in the quality of life of its citizens.  In her life, many, if not most of her generous acts were done without fanfare.  In the words of her attorney and executor, John W. McNeill III, Elsie Downing “…used her possessions, her money and property, first to remember her friends and then to significantly improve the lives of people she has never met or known, all the time being secure in the realization that in helping a neighbor, even an unknown one, she helped every one of us.”  As a beneficiary of her estate, the Foundation would create a perpetual scholarship fund for Mason County residents.  This program would be known as the G. L. & Elsie H. Downing Scholarship.

In July of 1995, a committee was formed to review the criteria set forth in her will, then develop guidelines and procedures for the selection of recipients.  By February of 1997, those procedures were in place, and an application form had been developed for distribution so that the first recipients could be selected that spring. 

The first Scholarship Committee received thirty-two applications.  It had been decided earlier that $31,250 would be available for the initial year’s awards.  Selected as the first Downing Scholarship recipients were  Jayne Davis, Keisha Steward, Lela Cocanougher, Michelle Muse, and Amy Dugan, all graduating seniors at Mason County High School.

The Foundation would eventually receive over $3 million from Mrs. Downing’s estate.   By the fall of 2022, in the program’s 25th year of existence, nearly $4 million in total scholarships had been awarded to 172 area students. 


In the spring of 2000, the Foundation accepted administrative responsibility for the Katie DeSpain Scholarship program.  Created by Katie’s parents, John and Ann DeSpain of Maysville, the program was a memorial to their daughter, who had passed away while a student at Eastern Kentucky University.  This was to be the first of a series of donor scholarship programs.  A need was seen for a service of this type in the community, where the Foundation would handle the administrative and investment duties of the scholarship program, while making it possible for the public to donate to the programs and receive personal income tax deductions for those donations.
The first Katie DeSpain Scholarship was awarded in 2001 to Mason County High School’s Adam Zeigler.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded $78,073 in total scholarships to 20 students.

In 2001, the Hedges-Barnett Scholarship program was created by Kenneth Hedges, a retired employee of General Electric living near Cleveland, Ohio.  Mr. Hedges wanted a scholarship that would reward students from his alma mater, Bracken County High School in Brooksville, Kentucky.  He was assisted in establishing the program’s criteria by Dr. David Barnett, who was Bracken County’s Superintendent of Schools at the time.  This is how the program received its name.  The initial Hedges-Barnett Scholarships were awarded in 2002 to Meredith Strange and Robin Rath, both of Brooksville.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded $25,517 in total scholarships to 11 students.

In 2003, the Foundation created a donor scholarship program of its own, in memory of Pat Moore.  A regional hall of fame basketball player from his years at Maysville High School, Pat was a man who cared about others, especially the youth of his community.  He showed this through coaching, and through the organization of summer basketball leagues.  He was someone who could be called on for service by local charities, and, in 2001, became a member Hayswood Foundation’s board of directors.  The following year, Pat was severely injured in an automobile accident.  He never recovered, and died on May 16, 2002 at the age of thirty-two.  The Pat Moore Memorial Scholarship was created to benefit students from St. Patrick’s, Mason County, and Fleming County High Schools who participated in school athletics.  The first Pat Moore Scholarship was awarded in 2003 to Fleming County High School’s Jennifer Roaden.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded $58,000 in total scholarships to 19 students.

In 2007, Marc and Margie Stahl of Maysville created the Matt Stahl Scholarship Program in memory of their son who passed away, at the age of 19, while he was a student at Northern Kentucky University.  This scholarship would benefit students from St. Patrick’s and Mason County High Schools who exhibit outstanding qualities as individuals, as as well as being good students.  The first recipient was 2007 Mason County High School graduate Richard Wells.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded $44,000 in total scholarships to 16 students.

The Zachary Ruble Memorial Scholarship was established in the summer of 2009.  Jay and Paula Ruble created the program in memory of their son, who passed away unexpectedly in April of 2009.  An honor student at the University of Utah, Zachary had an intense passion for protecting the environment, and practiced conservation and recycling.  He was an Eagle Scout and an avid outdoorsman.  A 2008 honor graduate of Mason County High School, Zachary maintained a 4.0 grade point average while playing for the School's soccer and tennis teams, and participating in community service projects.  The first recipient, Ashley DeAtley, was selected in the spring of 2010 to receive a $1,000 scholarship.  By the fall of 2021, the program had awarded $46,500 in total scholarships to 12 students.

Early in 2016, funds were received from the estate of Rosemary Reetz to establish the
William G. and Rosemary Reetz Scholarship Program, open to open to members of the graduating classes at Mason County and St. Patrick High Schools in Kentucky, and Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School in Ohio. That spring, the initial three scholarships were awarded for $2,000 per year, each.  Recipients were Kaliegh Bowling and Darren Williams of Mason County High School, and Natalie Adamson of St. Patrick High School.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded a total of $58,000 in scholarships to 12 students.

In late 2017, the Laurance L. Browning, Jr. Scholarship program was established by Mrs. Viriginia Browning of Maysville, in memory of her husband who passed away in 2012.  Mr. Browning was a former Vice Chairman of Emerson Electric, and former President of Browning Manufacturing. The Scholarship is available to residents of Mason County, Kentucky.  In the spring of 2018, Meredith Hartman and Bryan Walton, both from Mason County High School, were selected as the first recipients, each to receive $6,000 for the school year.  By the fall of 2019, the program had awarded $24,000 in total scholarships to four students.