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Women’s Legacy Circle reaches a significant milestone of giving

Women’s Legacy Circle reaches a significant milestone of giving

Women’s Legacy Circle recently reached an incredible milestone by surpassing $1 million in donations awarded to various projects at Carle Health in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Founded in 2009, the Women’s Legacy Circle is part of Carle Health Center for Philanthropy and a grassroots giving circle of compassionate women who want to change lives and make a difference. With 196 current members, “The Women’s Legacy Circle inspires, educates and empowers women as they pool their charitable gifts to make healthcare even better,” said Sharla Jolly, director, Carle Health Center for Philanthropy.

Members have a unique opportunity to combine their resources to fund large, high-impact projects helping Carle expand its extraordinary services and reach more families in the Champaign-Urbana community. The first award distribution began in 2010. To date, the official tally of donations distributed  is $1,037,291.
The group funds many different projects and services in different areas of Carle Health in the Champaign-Urbana area, most recently supporting physical therapy needs as well as the mothers in the NICU at Carle Foundation Hospital.
“We’re so grateful for the grant” Linda O’Gorman, PT, said. Approximately 4,000 patients a year will use sets of practice stairs made possible by the Women’s Legacy Circle. Physical therapists help patients prepare for the next steps, literally. A patient recuperating from a small break in a leg and arm can find a real set of stairs in a building with one handrail rather overwhelming, O’Gorman said. The five sets of new practice stairs have four steps and handrails on both sides. There is also a one-step mobile practice stair for patients who are isolated.

“The new stairs create a safe environment for the patient and the staff member supporting them,” she said. “We’re truly grateful to the Women’s Legacy Circle for supporting our department and helping make Carle a better place.”

Women’s Legacy Circle also supported the MOM (Mother’s Own Milk) effort for babies in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) with a grant, which helped purchase 10 hospital-grade breast pumps for bedside milk expression.

Chris Wetzel, RN, DNP, NIC-RN, IBCLC, an expert in the field of how mother’s milk builds immunity, provides improved neuro outcomes and prevents late onset of sepsis, said the grant will go a step further and provide mothers in need the comfort of a bra. “Some mothers are unprepared or deliver early and they have no postpartum nursing bra. We’ve seen some of these new mothers stuffing paper towels in as breast pads and squeezing their breasts into the bra they were wearing before they had the baby,” Wetzel said.

To participate, Women’s Legacy Circle members make a minimum annual donation of $500. Donations are used to fund grant requests made by Carle Health team members in the Champaign-Urbana community. Each September, team members present proposals to the entire Women’s Legacy Circle membership who decide what proposals to support. Last year, the giving circle funded 16 projects totaling $99,012, Jolly said.

As the membership grows, so does the amount available for distribution. All women are welcome to join and help fund extraordinary healthcare projects and services at Carle Health in the Champaign-Urbana area. For more details, go to

Categories: Culture of Quality, Community

Tags: Circle, Giving, Legacy, Philanthropy, Women's