Gratefulness abounds

From The Memorial Foundation President’s Desk:

We are ever grateful to our donors this year for increasing their giving in support of community health programs from $2.9 million in 2011-12 to $3.4 million in 2012-13. Simply amazing!

As we look to the new year, our focus will be on four health initiatives in the areas of improving children’s health; creating a healthy Yakima; ensuring access to information and tools to make end of life decisions; and increasing survivorship and preventative education in cancer care.

We’ve received some questions about the impact of Memorial’s potential partnership/affiliation on the Foundation.  The Memorial Foundation is a separate nonprofit organization, with its own board and balance sheet.  As our community’s health foundation, we will remain a separate entity from Memorial and any potential partner, and all donor monies will continue to support Yakima and our mission.

—Anne Caffery

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An Allocations Miracle

It’s allocation time at the Foundation. This usually means that the money need and asked for is far greater than what we have available.

It’s the time of year when we count up all donations, and see how well it all matches up with Memorial Family of Services’ who submit allocations proposals. Our work focus is int four major areas – Cancer Care, Children’s Health, Healthy Yakima and End of Life. All these areas have great unmet needs.

In the early years Foundation proposals were just over $200,000. This year allocation proposals are over $2,000,000. We can celebrate this achievement, and that we have good, strong coherent proposals to better serve our communities’ health needs.  AND best of all — I think we have the money to pay for these requests. That is a FIRST!!

Why this year were we able to “have enough”…? I think it is because of YOU – you in the community are the eyes and ears of Memorial’s community service – you know what the unmet needs are – you know what more we can do to help – and you help articulate this to those who use our services and make contributions.  You watch what we do and know it has meaning.

The allocations committee meets in two weeks and the Foundation Board will make final approvals at the end of September. We will keep you posted!!

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Gifts that are endlessly touching

Just had another sunny visit form Dr. and Mrs. Hart here at the Foundation. Nearly weekly they bring armfuls of soft quilts, tenderly made for patients at Cottage in the Meadow. They are made with love and treasured by families as a keepsake forever.

We all rush out to meet them each time, exclaiming over their handiwork and delighted by the color combinations. We are hard pressed to be able to thank them enough.



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Pacific Northwest University Students bring connection, joy and hope.

A For several years the inspiring students at PNWU have brought our community together annually to walk and run together – our families, our kids, moms and dads and dogs – in the fabulous PNWU Run for your LIFE Run. As if getting healthy and happy wasn’t enough they add a health fair to it AND then give the proceeds to Children Village.

Yesterday they brought the check to Dr. Diane Liebe, the Medical Director at the Village and an inspiring young man who represented his fellow Villagers, we all felt a deep sense of connection, joy and hope.

The PNWU students now have their own “apple label” proudly displayed on the honor wall at the Village. It’s a lasting bond that we hope will last forever. Thank you PNWU!


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Once in a while there are angels…

Once in a while there are angels

Many years ago Kay Maples(recently retired Social Worker at North Star Lodge), in her ministry to serve cancer patients met a family at North Star Lodge that had suffered the loss of beloved son and brother Bruce McDonnell. She came to know Dolores and George, Bruce’s parents and together they launched the idea of the Bruce McDonnell emergency fund for patient needs, and the amazing annual golf tournament that fuels it annually.

The tournament is a study in “it’s amazing what a group of committed individuals can accomplish” . The whole family gets involved. EACH YEAR  the fund generates over $30,000 toward a wide range of patient needs. “We want to help them” Dolores McDonnell proclaims at every opportunity.

I love this picture because it captures Dolores’ boundless enthusiasm and animation and Kay’s loving encouragement. Their work is the work of angels, and I consider myself blessed to have been able to see what can happen in the face of such a conspiracy of grace.

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Stories and Gifts

Recently a team I work with at Memorial tried to diagram and illustrate the WAY we make decisions about community health and strategies to improve it.

We look at studies. We ask questions. We do polls. Surveys.

We read patient data. We read County, State and Federal health reports. We convene community conversations.

We rely on partners to tell us what they see and know.

Then we plan.

Poignantly most of what we learn is told to us, very clearly, by what donors and contributor “tell” us with their gifts. And the stories they tell us when they make them. Stories of the service that were NOT there when they most needed them. Stories of the ways they wished it could have been. And so they give.

Their gifts, and their stories, tell us most of what we need to know.

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The Clarity of Youth

Our team is made up of bold miracle makers—Kellie Connaughton, fearless creator of many new things here at Memorial Foundation, always seems to carry things in new ways and farther than we ever dreamed possible. Over a decade ago Kellie filled her car with high school kids bound for Eugene, OR. She was taking them to see the successful youth pageant program sponsored by Sacred Heart Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.

Kellie drove that carload of kids back in a brilliant, puffy cloud of can-do power. They were all convinced that our community could embrace the program, teach philanthropy and get kids meaningfully involved. They were right. Thanks to Kellie and that band of Yakima youths, the Youth Works program was born.

Since that day the program has evolved and grown to include a Youth works Council whose leadership members serve on the Foundation Board. They oversee area pageants with the funds they raise and make allocation recommendations to the Foundation Board. Last year they netted $ 50,000.

The lead voices, Mark Day, Jamey Ruiz, and Sarah Mitchell, take their roles of influence seriously. They studied, toured and deliberated before they came to meet with the Foundation Executive Committee and Allocations group. Their preparation was impressive and it was with enviable clarity and insight that they made their recommendations.

Yakima, YouthWorks and, quite frankly, the world, is lucky to have young people who are already making conscious choices to give back and help pave the way to a better future.

After the Board votes on all proposals received I will post the results here!

Anne Napier Caffery
Memorial Foundation
2701 Tieton Drive
Yakima, WA 98902
509 576 5794

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Bravo John

When I first came to Yakima, the evening following my husband’s interview with the Capitol Theater Board, we went to Gasperetti’s. I was struck by the charm of the place,  the warmth of the people. John introduced himself to us and we felt the embrace of his genuine goodness.  I have thought of him since as our community’s “host”. He welcomes us over and over again, for special occasions, celebrations and memorable gatherings. Our daughter, on her twenty-first birthday wanted to “go to Gasperetti’s” where she had first been (drinking a seemingly endless Shirley Temples) as a second grader.

John Gasperetti’s Ted Robertson Community Service award is well earned. He has been a stalwart partner for the community health and the Arts. Hosting innumerable Art shows, assisting artists and our cultural enrichment as well as many charities as beneficiaries along the way. Charitable luncheons and evening events have enriched a wide swath of charitable efforts.

Heartbreakingly, upon the death of his mother, the family bravely asked that gifts in her memory benefit Hospice, and tenderly recognized this compassionate need. She is remembered in all of our hospice efforts – to this day.

Finally, it just wouldn’t be a Follies (slated for Saturday, March 2,  2013) without John’s special stage filling rousing rendition of some fabulous show tune – that he makes his own with his great big heart and talent. At Memorial and it’s Foundation, a rousing BRAVO, and deeply felt gratitude

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I Love Obituaries

Is that a terrible thing to say? I certainly don’t love losing people. But a good, thorough obituary is a great loving summary and tends to find the ultra special parts of a person. This morning a past Foundation Board member was memorialized in the Herald Republic. I knew Neil Dickenson as a board member in the early 90’s, one of the people who helped us get the Memorial Foundation started.

Neil was an accomplished businessman and community leader with  lists of accomplishments. But the bits I like best  “He was especially proud of his wife and daughters…he enjoyed the comfort of being at home…a fun and loyal friend….He inspired all who knew him to achieve their maximum goals and potential.”  Lovely.

And, it seems to me that we are all learning to approach funerals with a more joyful spirit. Per the instruction in Neil’s obituary: A Celebration of Life…encourages friends to come in casual attire – Mariners team gear, golf and tennis wear are welcome.”  I imagine this is how Neil would have wanted it!

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We are excited to have a new team member, Dujie Tahat.

We are excited to have a new team member, Dujie Tahat. A product of the Yakima schools since grammar school, he recently graduated from Whitman College with a degree in English and a focus on pre-med. While in high school Dujie participated in the Eisenhower YouthWorks pageant and never forgot its impact.

As Memorial’s new YouthWorks Coordinator, Dujie will work with high school students to foster interest and involvement in philanthropy. He tells us it is his dream job for this stage of his life. “Due to the amazing teachers and advisors I had the fortune of growing up with, youth advocacy and development have avidly and consistently been at the foreground of my concerns. I am grateful for the opportunity—hopefully and ambitiously—to step into the role as the YouthWorks Coordinator. The possibilities for this program are vast, and my aspirations are ambitious; I only hope to do right by The Memorial Foundation, the program, and the youth of Yakima Valley.

Dujie will coordinate with members of the YouthWorks Council, two of whom sit on the Memorial Foundation board. He will work with numerous Valley high schools to empower their youth campaigns and pageants to benefit local children’s programs. We can’t wait to see what Dujie is able to create through partnerships with schools, parents and kids.

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