James D. Forbes is a board member of the Southampton Hospital Association and a part-time resident of East Hampton. Forbes also serves as Chair of the East Hampton Emergency Department Campaign Committee that has raised $20 million in 2020 to build the new East Hampton Emergency Department. Monies raised to date include a significant personal gift from Forbes and his wife, Hollis Forbes. Forbes also currently serves as the Chairman of the Loyola University of Maryland Board of Trustees and is a member of Duke University School of Medicine of Visitors. In addition, Forbes is a member of the Board of Orbis, the international nonprofit that fights avoidable blindness. Forbes is Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley and here discusses his involvement with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and the creation of the new Emergency Department.
Jean Shafiroff: Why do you spend so much of your time on philanthropic efforts?
James D. Forbes: I was raised in a small town in North Carolina and I feel very fortunate to have had the career path that I have had. Not being born into wealth, I understand how lucky we are. My wife and I believe we have the responsibility to give back and be involved in philanthropy in our communities.
“If you’re in the luckiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%.” I fully believe in this quote from Warren Buffett. It is not just an expression but also something my wife, Hollis, and I try to incorporate into our daily lives. We have decided to focus on healthcare and education, two areas that make an essential difference to people’s lives.
JS: How did you get involved in Stony Brook Southampton Hospital?
JDF: About eight years ago, the opportunity to be involved with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital came up when a hospital board member approached me with the suggestion. I thought my background working with healthcare companies as an investment banker would fit with the Hospital’s needs. Then I met Bob Chaloner [Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s Chief Administrative Officer] and Steven Bernstein [President of the Southampton Hospital Foundation] and I was fortunate enough to be asked formally to join the board.
It was a great decision and one which led me to recently becoming the Chair of the East Hampton Emergency Department Campaign Committee.
JS: Can you tell us more about the East Hampton project?
JDF: My wife and I are part-time residents of East Hampton. We are locals here and we are acutely aware that the community needs greater access to first class medical care. We have also supported the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation for years and we have seen it grow from a few thousand visits a year to three times that number. When the Southampton Hospital Foundation joined forces with the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation to build a new Emergency Department in East Hampton, my wife and I did not hesitate to take a leading role in raising the funds.