National Program Spotlight

CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy Recognizes Rich and Barbara Kramer as Philanthropists of the Year

Chicago, Ill. (April 19, 2022) – Rich and Barbara Kramer of Chattanooga, Tennessee were recognized at the CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy Education Summit 2022 Phillie Awards with the Philanthropist of the Year award.

New to the Phillie Awards in 2022, the Philanthropist of the Year award honors an individual, household, family or organization who has given generously of their time, resources, efforts, recruitment and advocacy to support their foundation in a meaningful way over a sustained period of time. The award celebrates a donor who gives of themselves to further philanthropy’s impact. Nominations were submitted by foundations across CommonSpirit’s 21-state ministry and were reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee, which included representatives from the organization’s philanthropy, mission integration, and pastoral and spiritual care teams.

The Kramers were nominated by Chattanooga’s CHI Memorial Foundation where Rich served a six-year term on the Board of Directors and where both currently serve on the capital campaign team for CHI Memorial’s new hospital in Catoosa County, Georgia.

“Rich and Barbara Kramer were first acquainted with CHI Memorial Foundation in 2003 when their financial planner suggested they make a philanthropic gift,” observed Fred Najjar, CommonSpirit’s Executive Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, and President of CommonSpirit Health Foundation. “The planner suggested the capital campaign for cancer services at CHI Memorial as a wonderful option. Little did anyone know that this first introduction would develop into a lifetime of deep personal investment and involvement for Rich and Barbara.”

When Rich and Barbara sold their successful boiler tube manufacturing company and retired in their 50s, they started volunteering two days a week in the hospital. They spent countless hours waiting with and escorting patients and families. Soon they were on the board of the hospital auxiliary with Rich serving as President and Barbara as Treasurer, and currently Fundraising Chair. Together, the Kramers have donated thousands of hours of volunteer service to the hospital and its patients.

Monetary gifts from the Kramers have continued and their gift of time has increased as well. To date they have contributed nearly $2 million to benefit the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, Buz Standefer Lung Center, Kramer Family Cardiac Imaging Center in the Guerry Heart and Vascular Center, 3D mammography unit at CHI Memorial’s Chattanooga campus and just about every effort where the need exists.

“Rich and Barbara Kramer are the ultimate philanthropists,” said Jennifer Nicely, President of the CHI Memorial Foundation. “They give CHI Memorial their time, talents and treasure selflessly on an almost daily basis. Plus, they are just delightful people who work tirelessly to make things better for others. At CHI Memorial, we consider the Kramers family.”

CommonSpirit Health is grateful for the passion, dedication and advocacy of donors like Rich and Barbara Kramer. In every community we serve, individuals like the Kramers foster innovation and advance patient care and outcomes.