Inside Giving Fall 2019
New Guest House Manger helps put the “care” in world-class care
Two things make the new Carle Auxiliary Guest House manager perfect for the job. First, Rachael Schott has worked for three different Hilton properties in Champaign, which means she knows the ropes. But more importantly, she knows what it’s like to stand on the other side of check-in. With a million worries. And no place to go for the night.
For Schott, it happened at a children’s hospital in Chicago, when a quick in-and-out trip to have her daughter’s benign tumors examined became two-weeks in the ICU after a heart condition was discovered. “My support system was about two-and-a-half hours away,” says Schott. “Luckily my husband was there, but finding a hotel on Michigan Avenue when you have a three-month old and you’re a one-income family can be a little challenging,” says Schott.
Fortunately, there was a Ronald McDonald House nearby, which they utilized many times over the next two years. So when Schott heard about a job at a similar place in Urbana, she was intrigued.
“After a lot of discussion and talking to my husband I thought there’s no way I can’t. I mean truly that is everything I want to do in life,” says Schott, explaining that the job plays to her managerial strengths as well as her desire to help those experiencing the worst moments of their life. “I’ve been on the other side of it,” says Schott, “and I can tell you how much that means.”
The Carle Auxiliary Guest House has a total of 13 rooms—10 standard rooms for up to two guests and three family suites for up to four guests. Many of the guests are often pleasantly surprised not only by this beautiful home on Carle’s medical campus but also by the fact that there is no cost for their stay. Donations cover all expenses.
Time and time again, Schott’s seen the Guest House put the “care” in world-class care, whether it’s the woman from a Mattoon shelter who needed a place to stay before her surgery, or ordinary couples torn apart by extraordinary circumstances. “I can’t tell you how many love stories I’ve heard of people who have been married for 50 or 60 years” says Schott. “They’ve known each other since they were seven, and they haven’t slept apart from each other in 30 years. So to be able to be this close — they’re just so grateful. And I think that that makes the patient experience!”
Schott says none of it would be possible without the amazing volunteers who do everything from cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast to manning the phone and visiting with guests, providing a much-needed break from medical conversations. “They play a very important role here at the house,” says Schott.
Thanks to the I GIVE campaign, the Guest House underwent a major renovation in 2018, receiving new flooring, lighting, furnishings and more in celebration of its 15th anniversary. While it’s always been well-maintained, today the gem of the Auxiliary crown sparkles with a fresh new light, which isn’t lost on Schott.
“I love being here,” says Schott. “Not a lot of hospitals have a house like this, and I think the care that it provides makes us stand out in a wonderful way.
Eagle Scout project creates care packages for ICU families
Nicholas Pianfetti has been a Boy Scout since he was in kindergarten. As he got older, he saw other kids, like his older brother, gain their rank as an Eagle Scout. It opened his eyes to the good they were doing in their neighborhoods, and he wanted in. But to get there, he needed to come up with a project to lead on his own and a way to give back to his community.
One day, when his family was visiting a relative in the hospital, a light bulb went off.
“I thought it would be great to start collecting items for care packages to give people in the intensive care unit (ICU) or other areas of the hospital, so they didn’t have to leave to freshen up,” Pianfetti said. “This idea would also be my Eagle Scout project.”
All scouts working toward their Eagle rank also need a partner for their project before the scout council approves them. Pianfetti was lucky to receive Lesa Brandt’s contact information. She’s the annual giving manager for Carle Center for Philanthropy.
“This is one of those projects that was just meant to be and fell into place,” Brandt said. “A few months before Nicholas contacted me, we had identified unspent dollars restricted to ICU care bags. I had met with staff to identify what they saw as the greatest need for the bags, and when Nicholas contacted me, I was able to say, ‘Yes, let’s get the ball rolling on this.’ He picked it up and ran with it.”
Pianfetti went to work with the help of his troop. He even had volunteers from his church and some family friends.
“We were able to put together around 900 bags and still had a lot of extras, so more bags can be made in the future,” Pianfetti said. “My initial goal was 300.”
They stuffed the ICU care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, deodorant, lotion, Carle parking passes and cafeteria vouchers, soap, earplugs, microfiber wipes and hand sanitizer.
One of the items Pianfetti wanted to include that wasn’t in the bag was one of the biggest needs of the ICU staff as well – phone chargers.
“A lot of the staff said that they would loan out their chargers or would even buy them for patients and families,” Brandt said. “Around the same time, our mobile charging station vendor contacted us about a new product – small, in-room charging stations. Long story short, we’re purchasing these for every room in the ICU. So not only will families receive a care bag, but they’ll also have somewhere to charge their devices.”
Pianfetti’s fellow troop members admired his project and liked that it would have a direct impact on people going through a difficult time.
“They were getting excited as we were collecting more and more items for the care bags, so that was fun to see,” Pianfetti said. “When we were making them, it became clear we’d exceed my goal of 300 since we had more scouts helping out than who signed up. No one wanted to leave when their shift ended because they wanted to see how many bags we could make.”
A huge thanks goes out to everyone who helped Pianfetti with his Eagle Scout project. Through all the adventures he’s been on with his troop, he’s learned important lessons along the way, like the one this project taught – the importance of giving back to the place you live.
Rooftop celebration marks the start of construction for Will’s Garden
“It’s a very exciting day,” said James Leonard, MD, president and CEO of The Carle Foundation, as he stood on the rooftop that will soon house a rooftop healing garden. “Will’s Garden is one of the most unique features ever to be built at Carle Foundation Hospital.”
In a few short months, the rooftop between the sixth floors of the North Tower and Parkview building will transform into a 6,000-square-foot tranquil oasis for patients, patient families and staff.
“We’re also here to remember Will and his brave battle with cancer that really inspired this garden,” Dr. Leonard said. “He was so young, and yet he was thinking about other people and what this garden could be for others who come along. It’s very special. And with that leadership from Will, this garden is really going to make an impact here at Carle in many ways.”
Joining Dr. Leonard for the celebration were Will’s parents, John and Melissa Tate, as well as his brother, Ben, and sister, Sara. Rather than the traditional turning of dirt, each watered some of the first plants you’ll find in Will’s Garden when it opens next spring. The first phase of construction will be the demolition and replacement of the the curtain wall system on floors six to eight of the concourse.
“If somebody would have told us 13 years ago that we would be up here getting ready to open a rooftop garden at Carle, I would have told them they were crazy,” Melissa said.
Will’s Garden will give patients, families and staff a place to get away from the technology and the intensity of the hospital setting. Will’s Garden will allow visitors to take a moment and breathe. It will also serve as a reminder that health isn’t just medications and fancy equipment.
“It’s also about appreciating nature and the special time we’re given in life,” Dr. Leonard said. “What a tremendous gift to us here at Carle to have these things wrapped up in this garden.”
Melissa remembered Will as an athletic, smart, quick-witted and funny 13-year-old.
“A lot of people ask me what Will would think of this, and I think he would have just been overwhelmed by the whole thing, overwhelmed with how generous and supportive Carle and the staff have been,” she said.
Beth Katsinas, vice president of Carle Center for Philanthropy, confirmed the outpouring of generosity for this project has gone beyond expectations.
“First, we had thousands of staff and physicians from Carle and Health Alliance step up and say they want to be a part of this,” Katsinas said. “Before we knew it, we were halfway to our $1 million goal.”
On September 8, Carle Center for Philanthropy hosted hundreds of sponsoring companies for the annual Carle Golf Open. The beneficiary of this year’s event was Will’s Garden.
“We’ve also had people from throughout the community come forward and say they want to be a part of it,” Katsinas said. “It’s such a meaningful and special project, and it’s right here in the heart of our hospital.”
To donate to this incredible project, visit carle.org/give or text WillsGarden to 71777
Women’s Legacy Circle: 10 years of groundbreaking philanthropy
This year, the Women’s Legacy Circle celebrates its 10-year anniversary as a committee of generous women who wish to make their community a healthier and better place. In these 10 remarkable years, the Circle has evolved and made many distinguished accomplishments.
“The Women’s Legacy Circle allows for a wonderful group of women to learn more about their own philanthropy, and with the needs at Carle, it makes it possible for us to celebrate the ability to help patients, which in turn leads to greater healthcare in our community,” said Donna Greene, founding member and first president of the Women’s Legacy Circle.
Membership in the Women’s Legacy Circle has nearly tripled since its creation in 2009. It began as a group of 67 visionary women and today boasts a membership of nearly 200.
“The more members we have, the more people who are out there talking with their friends about the Women’s Legacy Circle and all the good things that we’ve done and will continue to do,” said Nancy Whitford, founding member and current president. “We also encourage our members to bring guests to our special events so they can learn what the Circle is all about.”
Members of the Women’s Legacy Circle make a yearly donation to help fund healthcare-related projects at Carle. The donations have now grown to grants totaling nearly $80,000 in the last year. As a whole, the Women’s Legacy Circle has awarded over half a million dollars to projects at Carle to create a holistic healthcare experience that betters the surrounding community.
“It was so easy to share this premise with prospective members,” Greene said. “The idea of giving $500 and ultimately awarding several thousands of dollars collectively is influential on its own. It has been very gratifying to see how this concept has caught on and the difference it has made. I get goosebumps when grants are awarded knowing the good that members feel from contributing to this.”
Whitford said what first enticed her to join and participate in the Women’s Legacy Circle is the concept.
“I immediately thought that it was something I’d like to join and be involved with because I really liked the idea of having a say in how the dollars I would be contributing were being used and to learn about the results.”
Although it’s been many years since the Women’s Legacy Circle was created, the main goal of the Circle has stayed the same – fund and expand extraordinary healthcare at Carle.
“The Women’s Legacy Circle connects its members with what is happening at Carle and worthwhile projects that will make a difference in the lives of Carle patients and in the community,” Whitford said. “If it wasn’t for the Women’s Legacy Circle, the members would not have this personal connection with Carle and the way their donations are being used.”
As for future plans for the Women’s Legacy Circle, Whitford says it’s all about growth and keeping the work meaningful.
“We need to keep attracting new members as the need for the type of funding we do keeps increasing,” said Whitford. “Along with that, we want to keep the Circle meaningful for the long-term members. So the focus must be on growth and making sure the members know they play an important role in helping Carle provide extraordinary care. The Women’s Legacy Circle makes a difference at Carle and in the community. We have to make sure our members know how important they are.”
Visit carle.org/WLC to become a member of the Women’s Legacy Circle.