UW Hospital Gives Back Through Employee-Directed Donations

Madison, Wisconsin - How would it feel to present a local charity with a check for thousands of dollars knowing it will help them help countless others?


Nine UW Hospital and Clinics employees were given this special opportunity to represent all UW Hospital and Clinics employees and decide which charitable organizations would benefit from UW Hospital and Clinics Employee-Directed Giving.


"It was such an honor to be part of this committee and empowered to decide which charities will receive this donation," stated Margaret Bils, nurse clinician in the Diagnostic Therapy Center. "We were truly given the gift of giving."


After thorough deliberation, the committee came to a unanimous agreement and committee members joyfully hand-delivered checks in the following amounts to these organizations the week of December 10:

  • $10,000 to CanopyCenter: A child abuse treatment and prevention agency created to strengthen the family unit and address the long-term effects of child abuse, with the goal of having victims live long and normal lives. www.canopycenter.org
  • $5,000 to The River Food Pantry: Provides hot meals, groceries, clothing, household items, nutritional basics and encouragement to Dane County families who are struggling to make ends meet. www.riverfoodpantry.org
  • $5,000 to Porchlight: Provides emergency shelter, food, employment services, counseling and affordable transitional and permanent housing to homeless people in the Dane County area. www.porchlightinc.org/

Meet Our Committee and Recipients



The 2012 Employee Directed Giving Committee:

(front row): Eric Shanley (Environmental Services), Ricardo Crespo (Food Services), Nancy Canter (Outpatient Surgery), Alex Harrington (Human Resources); (back row): Margaret Bils (Therapies-Diagnostic Center), Vicki Carter (Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Services), Danielle Kamps (AFCH), Karen Wahome (Fiscal), Ilene Axford (Patient Relations) 


"This is the best Christmas present I’ve ever received!" exclaimed Donna Fox, executive director of The Canopy Center (center), after committee members Nancy Canter (left) and Vicki Carter (right), delivered a check for $10,000 on December 12. Fox says the funds will allow five children to complete a full cycle of therapy, which is extremely substantial in a given year.


"First and foremost, I’m shocked to learn that we’re receiving this donation after receiving a similar donation within the past few years," stated Steve Schooler, executive director, Porchlight (pictured with committee members Danielle Kamps (left) and Vicki Carter, (right)). "There are many worthy charities to choose from and to be selected twice is a tremendous honor." 


Andy Czerkas and his wife Jenny (center), pictured with committee members (left to right: Karen Wahome, Vicki Carter, Alex Harrington and Danielle Kamps) co-founded The River Food Pantry more than 20 years. "We're here to help people…as many as we can and as much as we can," stated Andy. "This donation will help us do that even more. We appreciate it immensely." 


A Legacy of Giving


For the past five years, UW Hospital and Clinics has made a sizable holiday contribution on behalf of employees to community organizations that support the health and well-being of the communities we serve. For the past three years, the hospital has appointed an Employee-Directed Giving Committee to select one or more community organizations to receive contributions on behalf of staff. New individuals are selected each year from active employee charitable campaign coordinators who represent a variety of experience, jobs and work locations.


"Everything was entirely left up to the committee, including the nomination of specific organizations," stated Nancy Canter, a nurse clinician in Outpatient Surgery. "Hospital leaders wanted to hear from each of us, which meant so much."


Each committee member nominated a particular charitable organization – often after sharing thoughts from their coworkers – and the group deliberated for quite some time, discussing the missions of each group, who they help and the geographic reach. Having local charities benefit from the donation became a priority.


"For me, this was an opportunity to speak for a group of families and children that have a muted voice because of various types of abuse they have suffered," states Canter, who nominated the Canopy Center. "Through the services provided at Canopy they are working to heal so that the abuse does not define their lives. This lays the groundwork for a more engaged and productive citizens, and hopefully will lead to the reduction of abusive nature in society."


Other passionate nominations were supported by committee members.


"What really shakes me is how many people are in such need, especially when it comes to access to adequate food and shelter," stated Alex Harrington, an education specialist at the Human Resources' Academy, who supported a nomination for Porchlight. "I am ecstatic that we can help local charities that address these needs and give so much to our community."


Bils also commented on the need for food and threw a nomination into the ring.


"I was impressed to learn how The River Food Pantry started so small and has done so much in the community," she stated. "In talking with coworkers, it was brought up as an organization that could probably use some help, so I felt it was important to support local charities that often don't get the amount of money that national organizations get."

Date Published: 12/14/2012

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