Birmingham Museum of Art: Medical Properties Trust has been a corporate partner with the BMA for five years, and now MPT is partnering with the BMA in a new way, as the presenting sponsor for our annual Family Festival Series. What excites you most about this new partnership?
Edward K. Aldag, Jr., Chairman, President, and CEO of Medical Properties Trust: Medical Properties Trust invests in hospitals. We also invest in communities because no hospital can survive unless it’s needed by the community and supported by local doctors and nurses.
When we launched MPT 13 years ago, we chose Birmingham over several other cities—not only because of Birmingham’s international reputation as a healthcare leader, but also because of the city’s incredible quality of life.
The Birmingham Museum of Art plays a very important role in that quality of life, making artistic riches from around the world freely available to all our citizens, and celebrating the rich diversities of many cultures.
The Museum’s new Family Festival Series, with innovative quarterly events, will showcase several of the BMA’s outstanding collections while immersing participants in the art, music, food, and culture of “communities within communities” within the greater metropolis. Best of all, the whole series will be family friendly—and MPT, like healthcare, is all about family.
BMA: How are MPT’s employees positively affected by your support of the Museum?
EKA: The Birmingham Museum of Art celebrates the human spirit as revealed in art, culture, and the universal desire to express the best within us. Great museums not only “civilize” us by celebrating the best of many civilizations, but also by uplifting us. They help us to see the world in fresh new ways— through the eyes and hearts of ancient and modern artists, and others in between.
Medical Properties Trust’s desire to support the community by giving back is embraced by all of our employees, including those who serve on the company’s Charity and Community Support Committee. Each charitable request is carefully considered not only from the standpoint of the worthiness of the cause—and there are many worthy causes—but also according to the opportunities for our employees to get directly involved as volunteers, and for their own enjoyment. As we expand our involvement with the Museum, our employees look forward to playing a more supportive role themselves.
BMA: As the CEO of a real estate investment trust (REIT), you know a good investment when you see one, and you have chosen to invest in the Birmingham Museum of Art. In your opinion, what are the greatest returns on your investment as a supporter of the Museum?
EKA: As one of the leading cultural organizations in our community, the Birmingham Museum of Art plays a major role in making our city more appealing and more livable. The Museum reaches out across the whole community, to adults and children alike, through exhibitions, educational programs and events, both as a sponsor of these efforts and as a cooperating partner in so many other community causes. Such offerings make recruiting people to Birmingham—to join the MPT team—not only much easier, but also much more exciting.
BMA: How does your support of the Museum and other non-profit organizations help you stand out among competitors?
EKA: As the leading provider of investment capital to hospitals across the U.S. and Western Europe, Medical Properties Trust owns more than 200 hospital properties. We purchase the real estate assets and lease the facilities back to our “tenants” on a long-term basis that effectively lowers their overall cost of capital. So most of our clients are not local, but national and international.
However, whenever prospective tenants are looking at MPT as a financing option, our hope is that they will come to appreciate our core philosophy—that for a hospital to succeed, the community must succeed. If they understand that our philosophy of leveraging community assets to create greater value for patients and doctors transcends any single business transaction and undergirds our approach to the broader community, then we truly gain a leg up on any competitor.
BMA: Tell us about Medical Properties Trust’s corporate philanthropic goals, and how supporting the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Family Festival Series relates to these goals.
EKA: As a socially responsible company, Medical Properties Trust supports private and public non-profit programs aimed at improving the community and public health through financial support and volunteer commitment. We focus our charitable efforts on the following priorities:
- Non-profit organizations;
- Health, social, educational and community organizations;
- Events and programs for the betterment of the community;
- Community support that increases awareness of MPT and its healthcare facilities; and
- Commemorations and memorials.
As you can tell from my other answers, the Birmingham Museum of Art clearly qualifies in multiple categories—and all of us at MPT are very proud to support the Museum’s great work.
BMA: What’s next for Medical Properties Trust?
EKA: Medical Properties Trust was the first real estate investment trust (or REIT) to invest exclusively in hospitals, and we have become the world’s leading source for hospital capital. We have also become the third largest U.S.-based owner of private hospital beds—with more than 22,000 beds around the world. Although approximately 77 percent of our business is in the U.S. (in accordance with targeted goals), we now own facilities in Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain—and we see more opportunities on the horizon as others come to know more about what we offer.
What’s next for MPT? It may sound boring to say, “More of the same.” And yet, with market needs for hospital capital around the world estimated to be in the trillions of dollars, we hope with excitement for “a lot more of the same” as we continue to focus on hospitals—“the very heart of healthcare.”