CommonSpirit Health Philanthropy comes together for annual education and celebration

CHICAGO, IL (February 12, 2021) – CommonSpirit Health®’s Philanthropy Education Summit 2021 was held February 10 and 11 bringing together philanthropy professionals from across 20-plus states in a virtual and safe celebration of philanthropic excellence and continued learning.

Fred Najjar, Executive Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer, CommonSpirit Health, emceed the event, themed The Magic of Philanthropy, along with several special guests. The summit represents a significant investment in the professional development of each staff member across all of the 80-plus CommonSpirit Health affiliated fundraising entities.

“The summit is the one time each year we come together as a single group with the common goal of building healthy communities wherever we are,” Najjar said. “We take this time to improve our skills and knowledge – which will continue year-round through our professional development program – and celebrate our accomplishments.”

CommonSpirit CEO Lloyd Dean began by congratulating those assembled for raising a total of $260.1 million across the system in 2020 and for being recognized again as a Top Performer by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. He underscored the critical role philanthropy has in providing a wide range of programs and services including medical research, patient-assistance funds, scholarships, and programs to improve the health of entire communities.

Keynote speaker Chris Gardner, an author, philanthropist, businessman and motivational speaker who you know from his best-selling memoir, The Pursuit of Happyness, shared highlights from his book, Start Where You Are, and energized those in attendance to work through barriers and continue to work toward fulfilling CommonSpirit’s mission.

A panel discussion led by Shannon Duval, System Senior Vice President for Philanthropy, Larry Schumacher, System Senior Vice President of Operations and CEO of CommonSpirit’s Southeast Division Leadership and Alan Iftiniuk, President and CEO of French Hospital Medical Center focused on creating the ideal relationship with our hospital leadership - one that truly lets us align donor giving with our hospital’s highest priorities; that maximizes fundraising revenues; and, ultimately, that creates the highest impact for our communities. The session was introduced by Marvin O’Quinn, President and Chief Operating Officer of CommonSpirit Health who addressed the important connection between philanthropy and operational success.

Celebrating philanthropic achievement

The culmination of the day’s program was the 10th annual Phillies awards, a system-wide celebration that recognized the efforts and accomplishments the foundations achieved in the prior year.
The awards were in the categories of: Foundation of the Year, Quality Improvement, Largest Gift Intention, Model Stewardship, Top Performing Division, Largest Philanthropic Gift and Philanthropy Values.

Nominees for Foundation of the Year Award were:

• California Hospital Medical Center Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
• CHI Memorial Foundation, Chattanooga, TN
• Dominican Hospital Foundation, Santa Cruz, CA
• Barrow Neurological Foundation, Phoenix, AZ
• Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation, Santa Maria, CA

This award recognizes a foundation that has truly performed at the top of its game through stewardship, innovation, efficiency, a cost-per-dollar-raised of less than thirty five cents and a minimum transfer of two times the fundraising expense to hospitals. Katie Cobb and her team at Barrow Neurological Foundation had a stellar year across all categories, earning them the award. They raised almost $20 million which exceeded their budget by $2 million! They decreased their fundraising expenses by 15 percent and improved their cost-to-raise-a-dollar by 18 percent. Most impressive of all, they transferred over $30 million to Barrow Neurological Institute

The nominees for Quality Improvement Award were:

• Dominican Hospital Foundation, Santa Cruz, CA
• CHI Memorial Foundation, Chattanooga, TN
• St. Joseph’s Foundation of San Joaquin, Stockton, CA
• Penrose St. Francis Health Foundation, Colorado Springs, CO
• St. John’s Healthcare Foundation, Oxnard, CA

The quality improvement category is all about improving results and increasing impact recognizing best business practices and overall performance improvement all while demonstrating a consistent commitment to excellence. Julie Eckardt-Cantrall and the team at St. Joseph’s Foundation of San Joaquin won this award. They increased their fundraising by more than 47 percent and they did that while decreasing their fundraising expenses by 7 percent and improving their cost-to-raise-a-dollar by 27 percent. With a 64 percent increase in funds transferred to their hospital, St. Joseph’s Foundation is making sure their donor dollars are put to work.

The nominees for the Largest Gift Intention Award were:

• Sequoia Hospital Foundation, Redwood City, CA
• French Hospital Medical Center Foundation, San Luis Obispo, CA
• Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado Foundation, Colorado Springs, CO
• Saint Francis Foundation, San Francisco, CA
• St. Joseph’s Foundation of San Joaquin, Stockton, CA

Gift intentions are key to securing CommonSpirit Health’s future. We truly appreciate it when people remember us in their will or estate through a planned gift. This year Sequoia Hospital Foundation – Jennifer Svihus and her team – won this award for their work in securing the $2.9 million planned gift.

The nominees for the Model Stewardship Award were:

• Dominican Hospital Foundation, Santa Cruz, CA
• St. Elizabeth Foundation, Lincoln, NE
• Barrow Neurological Foundation, Phoenix, AZ
• St. Alexius Health Dickinson Foundation, North Dakota
• Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation, Santa Maria, CA
• CHI Memorial Foundation, Chattanooga, TN
• Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation, San Andreas, CA
• St. Anthony Health Foundation, Lakewood, CO

The Model Stewardship Award is special because it recognizes the impact that the dollars raised make in CommonSpirit Health’s hospitals. When dollars are transferred to the hospital in greater amounts year-after-year, it provides new equipment, improved buildings and programs that support patients and caregivers. Jennifer Nicely and her team at CHI Memorial Foundation transferred over $3.2 million to the hospital last year – that’s nearly 10 times greater than their transfers in the previous year. They were also efficient – transferring five times the foundation’s operating expenses. To top it all off, they raised five and a half dollars for every dollar invested.

The nominees for the Largest Philanthropic Gift were:

• Barrow Neurological Foundation, Phoenix, AZ
• Mercy One Des Moines Foundation, Des Moines, IA
• Mercy Foundation, Sacramento, CA
• St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation, Henderson, NV
• Dignity Health Foundation serving all of CommonSpirit Health

Through this award, we highlighted the tremendous work of one of CommonSpirit colleague, Pablo Bravo. Pablo is CommonSpirit’s System Vice President of Community Health. He and his team worked closely with Dignity Health Foundation to secure $7.7 million in funding to expand clinics in underserved rural communities.

The nominees for Top Performing Division Award were:

• Central Coast
• Arizona
• MercyOne – Iowa
• Greater Sacramento

The Greater Sacramento Division – which includes Mercy Foundation, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Woodland Healthcare Foundation – securing this award through their hard work and dedication to our mission. As a division, they showed how sharing services and working together can produce good results. As a division, they increased fundraising revenue by more than 60 percent and they improved cost-to-raise-a-dollar by 42 percent – moving from 35 cents to 20 cents. Their fundraising results by FTE were tremendous. With a 50 percent increase, they raised $729,000 per FTE.

Philanthropic Values

CommonSpirit also recognized Jennifer Nicely, philanthropy leader at CHI Memorial Foundation in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the winner of this year’s Philanthropic Values Award. This award was created to honor one philanthropy staff member each year who embodies the CommonSpirit Health values of compassion, inclusion, integrity, excellence, and collaboration in both their daily interactions, and in life. Jennifer received multiple nominations for the values award which is a testament to her character and her kindness. One of the quotes from her nomination letter read, “This person serves as a mentor to so many rising philanthropy leaders. She is held in very high esteem and always makes time – no matter how busy she is – to meet with young professionals and peers.”

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