The seeds of the Obici Foundation were planted in the mid-1940s by Amedeo Obici, founder of Planters Peanuts. After the death of his wife, Louise Musante, in 1938, he decided to build a hospital in Suffolk as a lasting legacy to her. The hospital would also continue his philanthropy in the community by providing Suffolk’s citizens with local, quality healthcare.

For about three decades, proceeds from the trust funded new equipment and building expenses for the hospital. In 1985, The Obici Foundation was officially established to oversee the funds Amedeo Obici left after his death for the benefit of the hospital. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the Obici Foundation continued to fund hospital renovation and equipment projects and also started to fund some small community outreach projects designed to improve health and healthcare for medically indigent individuals. In 2002 the Foundation used a substantial portion of the trust funds to help build a new modern hospital in Suffolk.

When the hospital was merged into Sentara Healthcare in 2006, the assets of the Obici Foundation were transfered to a new entity, the Obici Healthcare Foundation. The benefits from the merger were immediate and substantial. As a result of the merger agreement, the assets of the new Foundation were more than tripled and it was relieved of the obligation to provide direct support to the hospital.

In keeping with Mr. Obici’s concern for the delivery of healthcare, the Obici Healthcare Foundation’s mission is to improve the health status of residents of Suffolk and the surrounding communities. This will be accomplished by addressing the unmet needs of the medically indigent and uninsured and by supporting programs which will prevent and reduce illness and disease.

The Foundation is an independent entity unrelated to any other health organization. It is governed by an independent board composed of citizens living in the previous service area of the Louise Obici Memorial Hospital. This service area includes the cities of Suffolk and Franklin; the County of Isle of Wight; Surry, Dendron and Elberon in Surry County; Waverly and Wakefield in Sussex County; Courtland, Boykins, Ivor, Sedley and Newsoms in Southampton County; and Gates County, North Carolina.

By approaching the challenges of preventing illness and disease and serving the medical needs of the indigent and uninsured, it is hoped that the Foundation’s goals will be attained. A healthier community will be an enduring legacy of one of Suffolk’s strongest community leaders and its most renowned philanthropist.

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