MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nicholas County entrepreneurs Steve Antoline and Steve Ferguson helped raise more than $1.1 million to support the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital through a targeted community fundraising effort in central West Virginia.
Antoline, of Mount Lookout, is a member of the WVU Medicine Children’s Leadership Council and co-chair of the “Grow Children’s” capital campaign, which aims to raise $60 million for the new facility and associated program improvements. The 150-bed, nine-story hospital – under construction next to WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown – will provide the greatest range of pediatric specialty and high-risk maternal care in West Virginia.
Ferguson, Antoline’s friend and business partner, assisted with fundraising in the state’s Mountain Lakes region (MLR), which encompasses Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas, Upshur, and Webster counties. Antoline knew a targeted effort would be successful with support from Ferguson, a generous donor who’s been involved in statewide and Summersville-area community initiatives for years.
Upon learning more about the new facility, Ferguson was eager to help.
“This Children’s Hospital has a chance to be a leader in the nation, and that interests me a lot,” Ferguson said. “… The impact it’s going to have on the economy and West Virginians being proud – just like we’re proud of our football team and our basketball team – we’re going to be awful proud of this West Virginia medical system, specifically the Children’s Hospital.”
Ferguson and Antoline sought donations via letters, emails, and phone calls explaining the far-reaching impact of the WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital project. Their campaign went beyond individual community members to include local businesses that encouraged customers to give.
“I just can’t say thanks enough,” Antoline said. “Just about every individual we reached out to wanted to participate. They knew this was a great thing, and they wanted to be involved in it.”
While some donations were significant, most were smaller contributions that added up – including $6,200 raised by the families of youth campers and volunteers at Summersville’s “Alley-Oop” Basketball Camp. Nearly 50 kids in grades 3-5 participated in the July camp coached by Ferguson.
Volunteer Will Mullins, 12, was inspired after hearing Antoline speak about the new hospital and the kids it serves across the region.
“Will came home and said ‘Mom, I want to help.’ So, he decided to donate the money he earned working at the ‘Alley-Oop’ Camp,” Tamara Mullins, Will’s mother, said. “We couldn’t think of a better cause to give back to.”
Amy L. Bush, B.S.N., M.B.A., R.N., C.N.O.R., chief operating officer for WVU Medicine Children’s, appreciates the support from the Mullins family and advocates like Antoline and Ferguson.
“It’s heartwarming and incredible to know kids in our community want to help kids their own age,” Bush said. “We are so grateful for the tireless efforts of Steve Antoline, Steve Ferguson, and the entire Mountain Lakes region for their dedication in helping us fulfill our mission to build healthier futures for our children.”
Donations to the “Grow Children’s” capital campaign are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
Antoline, who founded Beckley-based Superior Highwall Miners, Inc., and operates various businesses throughout the state, previously made a significant gift to support the Antoline Family Lobby at the new hospital. He and his wife, Jamie, have been generous supporters of WVU Medicine Children’s and the University for many years. Their donations have helped to fund scholarships, programs, research, and facilities in several areas, including athletics, WVU Extension, and the WVU Cancer Institute. They are both members of the WVU Foundation’s Woodburn Circle and Irvin Stewart donor recognition societies.
Ferguson is a WVU-trained accountant who owns and operates Ferguson Services, Inc. He is a member of the WVU Health System Board of Directors. He previously served on the West Virginia Hospital Association board and supported a $3 million capital campaign as board chairman for Summersville Regional Medical Center, which joined the WVU Health System in 2019.
Individuals and businesses interested in supporting the expansion of WVU Medicine Children’s can call 304-598-4346 or visit WVUMedicine.org/GrowChildrens.