Healthy Lifestyle

$3M announced for Northern Dutchess Hospital's ED renovation and expansion

Gayle Bontecou, wearing a pink shirt and white pants, sits on a couch holding two dogs.


Donation from Dutchess County woman is largest ever philanthropic gift to Rhinebeck Hospital 

Northern Dutchess Hospital (NDH) is thrilled to announce a historic philanthropic gift of $3 million, the largest in the hospital’s history.


This generous contribution, made by Gayle Bontecou, a resident of Clinton Corners, NY, and Tequesta, Fla., is dedicated to the renovation and expansion of the hospital’s emergency department. In recognition of this remarkable gift, the space will be named “The Jesse and Gayle Bontecou Emergency Department.”


“Northern Dutchess Hospital is profoundly grateful to Gayle Bontecou for her extraordinary generosity. Her remarkable $3 million naming gift for the renovation and expansion of our emergency department is a testament to her unwavering commitment to the well-being of our community,” NDH President Denise George said. “This remarkable donation marks the largest philanthropic gift in our hospital’s history, a legacy that will forever be etched in the heart of our institution. Together, we are ensuring Northern Dutchess Hospital continues to provide top-notch healthcare for generations to come.”


Bontecou’s decision to support NDH is deeply rooted in a personal connection to the hospital, she says. In 2016, after her late husband, Jesse, required emergency medical attention, they experienced the compassionate and dedicated care provided by NDH staff firsthand. The staff went above and beyond to ensure Mr. Bontecou’s comfort and well-being, leaving an indelible mark on the couple. This gesture of kindness led to the gift.


“When my husband needed the best care, he got it through the Northern Dutchess Hospital Emergency Department. The night I drove Jesse to the emergency entrance, Dr. John Sabia came out to help us — we had no idea who he was, but his kindness and concern set the tone for the way my husband and I were treated throughout that frightening time,” Gayle Bontecou said. “He became our friend, and we had complete trust in the entire emergency department. I wanted to ensure that everyone can receive this kind of compassionate, generous care and in the best facility.”


Gayle Bontecou and Dr. John Sabia. She is wearing a white shirt and he is wearing a striped blue collared shirt.


The Bontecous, who were married for 46 years before Jesse’s death in 2020, shared a deep love for the community and were enthusiastic about nature and wildlife conservation. In 2022, Gayle Bontecou donated over 1,250 acres of vital open land in Dutchess County to establish the Jesse and Gayle Bontecou Wildlife Conservation Preserve. Additionally, the couple were avid birders, animal lovers, and dog enthusiasts. Mrs. Bontecou is a renowned judge in American Kennel Club (AKC) dog events and serves on the Board of the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York City.


With this significant gift, Mrs. Bontecou hopes to inspire others to support Northern Dutchess Hospital and its commitment to providing top-quality healthcare services to the community.


To make your own gift to support Northern Dutchess Hospital, click here.