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January 6, 2021

University Hospitals has received a generous $7.5 million gift from Steve and Loree Potash of Bentleyville, Ohio to establish the Steve and Loree Potash Women & Newborn Center at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

University Hospitals notes part of the University Hospitals Ahuja Phase 2 expansion, the new center will bring the trusted and collaborative care of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s and UH MacDonald Women’s hospitals to the eastside, introducing maternal-fetal care and a full spectrum of labor and delivery services to the UH Ahuja campus.

A member of the University Hospitals Board of Directors, Steve is the President and CEO of OverDrive, a company he founded in 1986 that is now the leading digital platform for eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital media, partnering with libraries, schools, government agencies, corporate learning centers, and colleges and universities worldwide. Steve and Loree are both graduates of The Ohio State University and the ClevelandMarshall College of Law. Loree also holds a master’s degree in library science from Case Western Reserve University, was an academic librarian, practiced law, and held multiple positions at OverDrive before retiring. The couple’s three children – Erica Lazzaro, Karen Estrovich, and Brian Potash – are all active leaders in the business.

“University Hospitals patient-first approach deeply resonates with our family and our values,” said Loree. “We are proud to support UH and to have our name on this remarkable new center, which will benefit families throughout our community. As parents and grandparents, we can think of no better gift to our community than a state-of-the-art home for mothers and babies.”

Designed to exceed the highest standards for quality, expert care while meeting the unique needs and delivery preferences of patients and families, the Potash Women & Newborn Center will accommodate a variety of birth plans and will feature an on-site surgical suite and neonatal intensive care unit.

“Bringing a new baby into the world is among the most special moments in health care and we take pride in offering a loving, caring birthing environment for young families,” said Patti DePompei RN, MSN, President, University Hospital Rainbow Babies & Children’s and UH MacDonald Women’s hospitals and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation Chair in Leadership and Innovation. “With the Potash Women & Newborn Center, we will extend this exceptional, family-centered care to University Hospital Ahuja for the first time. I believe it will surpass all expectations and set a new standard of care in the field.”

The new center will meet the growing need for convenient, eastside access to maternity care and advanced labor and delivery services. It is estimated that the Potash Women & Newborn Center at UH Ahuja will deliver approximately 2,400 babies annually.

In addition to the named center, Steve and Loree’s gift will also launch an innovative literacy program, ensuring newborns and their families go home with their first collection of baby-friendly board books. The books will be accompanied by literature on healthy parenting tips and information about extra resources available for the entire family through their local public library.

Illiteracy is a serious problem, both nationally and locally. It is estimated that 66 percent of Cleveland residents are functionally illiterate, meaning their math, reading or language skills are below the fourth grade level. This makes simple tasks like reading a bus schedule or medicine bottle a struggle.

“Loree and I are dedicated to a world enlightened by reading and improving literacy rates and this program will increase community awareness of and access to books and learning,” said Steve. “More than 10,000 babies are born across the UH system each year – with this program, we hope to spark a love of reading early in children and educate families about the tremendous, free access they have to books and resources through the library system.”

Thanks to the Potash’s support, a pilot book program will launch at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital this year with plans to expand to other UH locations in 2022.

“Steve and Loree are passionate and inspiring leaders in our community and their commitment to our patients and families is unwavering,” said Cliff A. Megerian, MD, President, University Hospitals. “Their extraordinary philanthropy will ensure moms and babies get the high-quality care and specialized services they need, in the compassionate, family-focused environment they deserve. Their book program, though, is perhaps their ultimate gift, setting children on a path to discovery and learning from their first days. It’s an incredibly meaningful and impactful investment into our community.”

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