National Program Spotlight

CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy “tunes in” for a day of celebration

Chicago, Ill. (February 29, 2024) – CommonSpirit Health®’s Philanthropy Summit was held February 29 in a virtual format. Bringing together approximately 300 philanthropy professionals across 21 states, the event featured dozens of live audience watch sites across the country.

The Summit represents a significant investment in the professional development of each staff member across all of the 80+ CommonSpirit Health affiliated foundations.

“The Summit is a remarkable platform for fostering connections, relationship-building and the exchange of best practices. It nurtures a philanthropic culture across our entire organization,” reflects Nancy Bussani, Executive Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer and President of CommonSpirit Health Foundation. “This dedicated time each year for philanthropy staff to learn from and grow with each other is a testament to our collective commitment to the mission, empowerment for success, and the importance of celebrating our shared accomplishments.”

Susan Shum, Summit Chair and Chief Philanthropy Officer of California Hospital Medical Center Foundation in Los Angeles, California, began by welcoming and grounding those assembled in the purpose of the Summit — to tune in to how philanthropy carries our mission forward across the ministry, to tune in to where individuals are in their professional development and to tune into the people and communities we serve. 

Following a reflection by Lindsey R. Hincks, Chief Philanthropy Officer for Sequoia Hospital Foundation in Redwood City, California, Wright L. Lassiter III, Chief Executive Officer of CommonSpirit Health and Bussani highlighted the positive change philanthropy enables in health care and the communities we serve, the future of One CommonSpirit Health and the ministries continued alignment and systemization in order to better serve patients and donors.

Keynote speaker April Rinne — change navigator, speaker, investor and adventurer — delivered an energizing address on how change defines the present and uncertainty permeates the future. She challenged philanthropy staff to purposefully and joyfully cultivate skills, practices and superpowers that our world in flux demands. Her message of embracing change and uncertainty is at the heart of responsible leadership, thriving culture and effective communication.

Celebrating philanthropic achievement

The culmination of the day’s virtual program was the Phillie Awards, a system-wide celebration that recognizes the efforts and accomplishments the foundations achieved in the prior year.

The awards were in the categories of: Video of the Year, Largest Philanthropic Gift, Board Director of the Year, Division of the Year, Philanthropy Champion of the Year, Philanthropist of the Year, Philanthropy Values Award and Foundation of the Year.

New to this year’s Phillie Awards was the category of Video of the Year. This award celebrates meaningful video pieces from local markets highlighting the impact of philanthropy. This year’s winner, CHI Memorial Health Care Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, showcased “Memorial Georgia.”

The nominees for the Largest Philanthropic Gift award were:

  • Barrow Neurological Foundation, Phoenix, Arizona
  • California Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Los Angeles, California
  • Friends of Mercy Foundation, Bakersfield, California
  • Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Seattle, Washington

This award celebrates the largest documented single gift secured across the national ministry in fiscal year 2023. The winner was Barrow Neurological Foundation.

The Board Director of the Year award honors one of our foundation board directors for giving of their time, resources, advocacy and all of the other meaningful ways they support their foundation. This year’s recipient, David Civalier, MD, of Mercy Foundation North in Redding, California, is the Chair and driving force of the foundation’s $10 million campaign for a cancer center. 

Nominees for the Division of the Year award were:

  • Southern California
  • Southwest
  • Texas

The Division of the Year award celebrates collaboration among foundations that results in an increase in dollars raised, a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of less than 35 cents and transfers to their hospitals of twice the amount of expenses. The winning division must exemplify collaboration, showing how we are all stronger when we work together. The winner was Texas.

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. This year’s recipient is Lisa Zuckerman.

The Philanthropist of the Year award celebrates an individual, 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 recipient is Roy Cook of Mercy Hospital Foundation in Durango, Colorado.

The Philanthropy Values Award honors a local philanthropy team member who truly exemplifies CommonSpirit’s values, both personally and professionally. It is an award for an individual who demonstrates the values upon which Humankindness is based, each and every day. This year’s recipient is Karen Sloan of CHI Memorial Health Care Foundation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Nominees for the Foundation of the Year award were:

  • California Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Los Angeles, California
  • CHI Health Foundation, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Friends of Mercy Foundation, Bakersfield, California
  • Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation, Santa Maria, California
  • St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation, Henderson, Nevada
  • Yavapai Regional Medical Center Foundation, Prescott, Arizona

The Foundation of the Year award celebrates the fundraising office which excels across major gifts, grants and planned gifts. The foundation needs to achieve a balance, keeping their expenses in check while investing in programs that transform their work. They also need to build strong teams dedicated to advancing the mission of the organization. In fiscal year 2023, this year’s recipient was Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation, Santa Maria, California.

CommonSpirit Health has 80-plus fundraising entities located across the U.S. Over the past five years, these foundations have raised a combined $1.3 billion and in fiscal year 2023, CommonSpirit raised more than $260 million to ensure that it can continue to serve the vulnerable and build healthy communities. The organization does this nationally through CommonSpirit Health Foundation, and locally through its network of regional and community-based fundraising entities.