Making a Difference

 Making a Difference

Kettering Medical Center Foundation supports Kettering communities for decades

Mike Boyer

The Kettering Medical Center Foundation has a simple mission, says Susan Barcus, president of the nonprofit organization affiliated with the Kettering Medical Center.

“Our mission statement is to make a difference in the life of the communities we serve,” she says. It includes not only patients and families served by the Kettering Medical Center, but also Kettering College, the Sycamore Medical Center and the Kettering Behavioral Health Medicine Center.

For more than 30 years the foundation has been supporting local community needs, she says. Formed initially as a fundraising department of the hospital, the foundation was incorporated as a tax-exempt nonprofit in 1987.

“The foundation has made a huge difference over the years,” Barcus says.

For example, it recently completed raising $10 million through its “Because of You…” capital campaign to support Kettering’s new $53 million cancer center across the street from the Kettering Medical Center.

“That was an incredible outpouring by folks who had been touched by cancer and were willing to step up and do a three- to five-year beneficial gift to the Kettering Cancer Center campaign as that building sprang from the ground,” she says.

Among other things, the foundation also has provided $420,000 for a 3-D mammogram machine for the hospital and has helped fund an integrative medicine program at the cancer center to the tune of $300,000.

In addition to its regular fundraising throughout the year, the foundation annually holds four signature events.

It conducted the Walk for Women’s Wellness on May 6 at the Kettering Medical Center. The daylong event drew an estimated 2,000 people to raise funds for women’s cancer care services for uninsured or underserved women.

Over the 24 years the walk has been conducted it has raised $1.2 million, Barcus says.

“It’s a very grassroots fund. All the money raised stays local. We put about $50,000 a year to direct patient needs,” she says. “That’s things like wigs for women undergoing cancer treatment who can’t afford them, or for a prosthetic after breast cancer treatment, it’s for mammograms and for medicines. We aren’t picking the patients. We’re just paying the bills.”

In conjunction with the walk, a family wellness day was conducted at the cancer center with activities for children, cancer screening, food demonstrations and more.

Honorary chair this year was Kim Farris and community chair was Laura Grodrian.

The event recognized the patient advisory council that worked with physicians, architects and others in the development of the cancer center.

The foundation’s board also was recognized.

“We have an incredible group of board members. John Knapke is board chair this year. He is senior vice president at Merrill Lynch. Jerry Tatar, former chairman and CEO of Mead Corp., is vice chair, Allyson Danis is our secretary and Mike Suttman, president of McGohan Brabender, is our treasurer. We have a number of others on our board. We’re proud of the time our board gives us. They are an incredible group.” The foundation also paid tribute to the cancer center’s volunteers who assist incoming patients.

“When you walk into the cancer center you’re greeted by someone who gives you a smile and makes sure you get to the right place. You’re pretty vulnerable when you’re fighting cancer. We think that’s a special duty and special honor,” Barcus says.

The foundation’s annual golf classic will be conducted this year at NCR Country Club on July 16. The classic’s proceeds benefit the foundation’s Greatest Need fund supporting critical care for those in need.

The Heart-to-Heart gala, the foundation’s longest-running event spanning 29 years, will be conducted Sept. 9 this year. The gala begins with dinner and is followed with a concert by an as yet unannounced national artist at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Gala artists have ranged from The Commodores last year to comedian Steve Allen in 1989.

The gala has provided more than $7.5 million for state-of-the-art surgery equipment, patient and physician education and supporting the Kettering Cardiovascular Institute.

The Foundation’s fourth annual event is the Ribbon of Hope Luncheon, to be conducted this year on Oct. 2 at the Ponitz Center at Sinclair Community College. The event, which is always a sellout, includes a vendor boutique and a nationally known speaker on breast cancer and women’s health. Proceeds support the Women’s Wellness Fund.

Barcus says one of the new projects the foundation is undertaking is fundraising for Kettering College among its alumni. The college ran its first ever fundraising program last year for its 50th anniversary and the foundation is developing a planned giving program.

“We are so thankful to all our patients, families and donors because they are what is making us successful. We feel there are so many things that the community wants to partner with us on,” she says, not just cancer and heart and vascular care but also programs for maternity and trauma care.

“There are so many exciting projects and so little time,” she says.