A healthy donation: Health care foundation surpasses million-dollar mark in gifts
WORTHINGTON — With the Wednesday presentation of a $26,000 check to Love INC, the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation surpassed the $1 million mark in money awarded during its history.
The foundation, which originated in 2008 with the sale of Worthington Regional Hospital to Sanford Health, originated with a total of a little more than $5.4 million in its coffers. The organization’s most current financial figures show a balance of $6.3 million — or, a gain of nearly $1 million to go along with its philanthropic efforts.
“Money is going out and the foundation is still growing,” said Paula Chapulis, the chair of the foundation’s board of directors, on Wednesday. “There’s a lot of great energy on the board as to where we can continue take the fund.”
Most programs funded by grants from the foundation don’t encompass more than three years, Chapulis stated. One exception is an in-school flu shot program that has been co-funded annually along with Sanford Worthington Medical Center and Avera Medical Group Worthington. In addition to grants, the foundation also awards multiple scholarships on an annual basis.
“The mission of the foundation is to promote health and wellness initiatives in the Worthington area,” Chapulis explained, explaining that criteria for awarding grants can often depending on whether the project or organization has an educational or multiple components, and benefits many in the community or region.
The nine-member board is in the midst of strategic planning during which it hopes to determine “true needs” of the area, Chapulis said.
“Right now we believe the biggest needs are with the youth and the elderly,” she said. “We’d like to take this fund and not just sit on our hands with it, but grow it so it’s here in perpetuity.
“One thing we’re doing now is matching grants with the food shelves,” Chapulis added. “Nutrition is such a big part of health and wellness, so we contacted the food shelves and said, ‘If we would partner with you, funds given to the health care foundation would be matched … for the food pantries.’”
Through the partnership, a donation of $250 to the foundation would result in a gift of $500 to the food pantries. At least two organizations in Minnesota are also offering matching funds, Chapulis said.
“We’re actually extending our matching portion through the end of April,” she added. “These are the kinds of things we’re looking to do. … We have to look at how to partner with other organizations doing fundraising in the community.”
The foundation board is in the midst of hiring an executive director. Around 20 applications had been received by the March 21 deadline, Chapulis said.
In the meantime, the foundation continues to fulfill its mission. Wednesday’s award of $26,000 to Love INC (in the Name of Christ) — a ministry of 17 local churches working together to help neighbors in need — will go toward the organization’s Clearinghouse Helpline, which connects local individuals in need with various resources.
“About 75 percent of the calls we have are health-related,” Love INC Executive Director Brian Frodermann said. “As Love INC identifies gaps in available services that callers are requesting, we then work with our partner churches to create new ministries to fill these gaps. We have different kinds of health care gaps … and this money will assist in fulfilling those needs.”