National Program Spotlight

CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy Comes Together for Annual Education and Celebration

Chicago, Ill. (February 17, 2022) – CommonSpirit Health’s Philanthropy Education Summit 2022 was held February 10 and 11, bringing together more than 400 philanthropy leaders and professionals from throughout the United States in a virtual and safe celebration of philanthropic excellence and continued learning.

Originally conceived of by Fred Najjar, CommonSpirit’s Executive Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, and President of CommonSpirit Health Foundation, the summit represents a significant investment in the professional development of each staff member across the 80-plus CommonSpirit affiliated fundraising entities.

“The summit is the one time each year we come together, not as individuals, but as one organization and one philanthropy family with a common mission of building healthy communities wherever we are,” says Najjar. “We set these days aside to learn from our colleagues across the ministry and from national thought leaders and we pause to celebrate our accomplishments together.”

Summit Chair Dan Murphy, who serves as Chief Philanthropy Officer for Glendale Memorial Health Foundation and Dignity Health Foundation Inland Empire, opened the two-day event by introducing this year’s theme, “Storytelling in Philanthropy.” His introduction highlighted the program’s common thread of sharing and listening to the stories that remind us of the meaning of our philanthropic work and exemplify the impact we can accomplish together.

Following an opening reflection by Tessie Guillermo, Chair of the CommonSpirit Health Board of Stewardship Trustees, Najjar was joined in conversation by CommonSpirit’s Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd Dean for a masterclass in humankindness. The two spoke in detail about Dean’s career, legacy and steadfast support of philanthropy. He shared his very personal story and revealed how it formed who he has become and shaped the work that is of utmost importance to him today.

Alice Ayres, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy shared the importance of storytelling in philanthropy and its impact on our industry, speaking of how our work has been affected by recent giving trends, unprecedented challenges like COVID-19, and the myriad of social justice issues that are a hallmark of recent years. Her presentation was followed by a discussion between Paul Richardson, CommonSpirit’s System Senior Vice President for Philanthropy Engagement and researcher, writer and illustrator Ximena Vengoechea. Vengoechea’s latest book, Listen Like You Mean it: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection provided the foundation for a robust discussion of the importance of truly listening to the stories that surround each of us and how we can refine our listening and communication skills.

The summit’s second day began with a welcome by Lloyd Dean in which he celebrated the contributions of philanthropy employees across the ministry during the pandemic. This was followed by a reflection from CommonSpirit Health Foundation Board Director, Kristi Yamaguchi who shared her story of how both her family and her experience as a Gold Medal-winning Olympic athlete helped launch a 25-year journey in philanthropy. Yamaguchi then introduced the day’s keynote speaker, Jack Canfield, best-selling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and The Success Principles. Canfield shared his story, highlights from his system of success and discussed the power of goal setting and realization. Following his address, Canfield participated in a meaningful discussion with Summit Chair Murphy about the principles he shared.

After a break, Nancy Bussani, System Senior Vice President for Philanthropy Strategy and Governance introduced a panel discussion of board members from across CommonSpirit to discuss their own stories of why they serve on their boards, how they view their roles and what they need to be effective storytellers, ambassadors and advocates for our work. Panelists included Lela Agnew from the CommonSpirit Health Foundation, Daryl Love, Vice Chairman of the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation in Kentucky, Wendy On from the California Hospital Medical Center Foundation, and Anand Nair from the St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation in Nevada.

Celebrating philanthropic achievement

The culmination of the summit was the 11th annual Phillies awards, a system-wide celebration that recognized the efforts and accomplishments the foundations achieved in the prior fiscal year. Najjar began the celebration by announcing that more than 60,000 donors made a commitment last year to walk alongside our ministry in our healing work, contributing more than $285 million - the most ever raised by our organization.

This year’s awards were in the categories of: Largest Gift, Division of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year, Philanthropy Champion of the Year, Board Director of the Year, Philanthropy Values Award and Foundation of the Year.

Nominees for the Largest Gift award were:

• Sequoia Hospital Foundation (Redwood City, California)
• Barrow Neurological Foundation (Phoenix, Arizona)
• A system-wide grant benefiting 36 Catholic Health Initiatives sites
• Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley (Chandler, Arizona)
• Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation (San Andreas, California)

This award celebrates the largest documented single gift secured across the national ministry. Barrow Neurological Foundation was named this year’s winner with a gift of $38 million from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation for Barrow’s Ivy Brain Tumor Center.

Nominees for the Division of the Year award were:

• Northern California Division
• Southeast Division
• Southwest Division

The Division of the Year award celebrates collaboration among foundations that results in an increase in dollars raised and the number of donors over the prior year, a cost per dollar raised of no more than 35 cents and transfers of twice the amount of expenses. The winning division must exemplify collaboration, embrace best practices and implement innovative programs division-wide. Led by Drew Gagner, Division Vice President of Philanthropy, this year’s winner is the Northern California Division, which includes Dominican Hospital Foundation (Santa Cruz), Sequoia Hospital Foundation (Redwood City), St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation (San Francisco), Saint Francis Foundation (San Francisco), Mercy Foundation (Sacramento), Mercy Foundation North (Redding), Woodland Healthcare Foundation (Woodland) and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (Grass Valley). Collectively the division achieved a 16 percent increase in fundraising over the prior year and had a cost to raise a dollar of less than 25 cents. They also achieved a transfer rate of almost 2.5 times their expenses while working collaboratively and cohesively to support each other and address challenges as a team.

The Philanthropist of the Year award is new in 2022 and celebrates an individual, household, family or organization who has given of their time, resources, efforts, recruitment and advocacy to support their foundation in a meaningful way over a sustained period of time. This year’s winners, Rich and Barbara Kramer, first became acquainted with CHI Memorial Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee nearly 20 years ago. The Kramers are active volunteers at the hospital and have served on the auxiliary board. Rich served on the foundation’s board and both are currently members of the capital campaign committee for the new Georgia hospital. Their financial contributions to CHI Memorial total nearly $2 million to support cardiac, cancer, lung and other vital programs.

Also new this year, the Philanthropy Champion of the Year award honors a CommonSpirit leader who has given of themselves in a meaningful way to further philanthropy’s impact. The first recipient is Linda Hunt, Southwest Division CEO and President. Hunt leads by example and over her two decades with the ministry has grown our footprint from one hospital in Arizona to eight. She has made multiple major gifts to the organization and encourages others to do so. She is well known in the philanthropy community locally and nationally and her commitment to our work was evident during her address to the international conference of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

The final new award, Board Director of the Year, honors a local foundation board director for giving of their time, resources, recruitment efforts and advocacy and all of the other meaningful ways they support their foundation. This year’s recipient, Julia Marreel, serves on the Board of Directors at Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley in Chandler Arizona where she is the Women’s Philanthropic Society Chair. Marreel’s relationship with our organization began decades ago, her father served as Chief Medical Officer for Chandler Regional Medical Center and her mother volunteered thousands of hours to benefit the hospital. Marreel has actively recruited members to join both the Women’s Philanthropic Society and the foundation board and has served as both Chair and host of numerous events benefiting the hospital and foundation. With her husband, Tom, she continues the family’s legacy with her own investments of time, talent and treasure in memory of her parents.

The Philanthropy Values Award honors a philanthropy team member who truly embodies CommonSpirit Health’s mission, vision and values. This year’s recipient is Anthony Pagliaro, Director of Philanthropy at Dominican Hospital Foundation in Santa Cruz, California. Pagliaro, who received two nominations for the award, is highly committed to our mission and brings warmth, energy and tremendous kindness to his work. He serves as a vital link between philanthropy and patient care and since the onset of the pandemic has supported the hospital’s command center and continues to coordinate vaccination clinics and outreach for the community. He has established strong relationships with donors, colleagues and community members and works diligently to serve each to the best of his ability.

Nominees for the Foundation of the Year award were:

• CHI Memorial Foundation (Chattanogga, Tennessee)
• Barrow Neurological Foundation (Phoenix, Arizona)
• Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation (Kearney, Nebraska)
• Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation (San Andreas, California)
• Sequoia Hospital Foundation (Redwood City, California)

The Foundation of the Year award celebrates the fundraising office which achieves an increase in dollars raised and the number of donors over the prior year, a cost per dollar raised of less than 35 cents, transfers twice the amount of expenses, embraces best practices and implements collaborative or innovative programs. In fiscal year 2021, this year’s recipient, Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation, achieved a 573 percent increase over the prior year’s fundraising and a cost to raise a dollar of just four cents. With a transfer rate of seven times their expenses, they have demonstrated that every dollar is making a significant impact within the hospital. By implementing best practices, collaborating with sister foundations and sharing best practices they have shown what can be accomplished when we work together. Led by Julie Eckardt-Cantrall and Charanjit “CJ” Singh, the foundation serves as a model of a balanced, well-rounded program and demonstrates that each of our foundations, regardless of their size or location, has a path to success.