The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 20, 2013

Smart people, smart spending

Daily Item

---- — Not much speaks louder than money. Maybe the only thing that can have a larger impact is money used in the right way and by the right people.

News this week that the Degenstein Foundation will help fund a Geisinger study on the effects of Marcellus Shale drilling with a $1 million donation fits right into that mold.

Like global warming, the science on the effects of natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania comes down on both sides. It is still too soon into the program to get definitive answers as to its long-term effects, but enough negative impact has already been seen to warrant a deeper look.

Geisinger, now with the help of the Sunbury-based foundation and in cooperation with hospitals in Sayre and Williamsport, can at least provide a data-based view in the future. It might take a long time to get final word on effects, but this first step is in the right direction.

The Degenstein Foundation's mission has never changed and this is more proof that its heart has always been in the right place in carrying out Charles Degenstein's vision.

"Our overall goal is to have projects that improve the lives of people in the Susquehanna Valley region," said foundation co-trustee Michael Apfelbaum.

No question this donation can and will do that.

The most refreshing aspect of Monday's announcement was the foundation's understanding that its money can be better utilized by other people.

In the hands of the proper people, the money can make a significant impact to real lives. Apfelbaum said the foundation recognized not only the need for the study, but the need to find the right people to oversee it and that the foundation "had to provide enough money to have very good players at the table."

Hospitals have a lot of good players and the Degenstein Foundation is right to engage the tremendous health care resources in the Susquehanna Valley.

Geisinger is already ahead of the game in terms of long-term patient studies and care, so it is an ideal fit for this venture.

Smart people spending money the right way is always a winning combination.