2009 Report To Our Communities
"Great care made possible through philanthropy." Mindy Danovaro, Executive Director

Donor Stories

You’ll find a personal story behind every philanthropic gift made to a Sutter Health facility. Many of these gifts were inspired by compassionate care received during a time of great need. In every case, the generous donor recognizes the life-changing value that a Sutter Health program or service can provide for a community.

See how philanthropy helped save Tyler Zepp’s life.
View Tyler's story video transcript

A Solid Foundation for Supporting Future Nurses

California faces a serious nursing shortage, with experts predicting a shortfall of 108,000 nurses by the year 2020. In response, Sutter Health continues to collaborate with community and educational partners to help recruit, train and retain talented nurses.

A long-time valued partner—the Bernard Osher Foundation—provided a $1 million grant to Sutter-affiliated Samuel Merritt University (SMU) in 2009 to fund scholarships for undergraduate nursing students. The generous grant enables SMU to establish an endowed scholarship fund that each year benefits more than 10 students who demonstrate academic promise, but lack the means to pay full tuition. Through the scholarships, these students will receive at least $50,000 per academic year.

The funds particularly help older and reentry nursing students, says Andy Lynch, program officer for The Bernard Osher Foundation. “These students often have more family and financial obligations than younger students—and reentry students typically receive less financial aid support.”

The Osher Foundation’s latest grant continues a longstanding tradition of providing financial support to SMU—$48,000 per year since 2006. “We’ve been pleased with the caliber of students selected to receive scholarships—and their graduation rates,” says Lynch. “By establishing an endowment fund at the university, these scholarships will continue to be available year after year.”

Together the Bernard Osher Foundation and SMU are equipping students to become highly skilled, compassionate professionals ready to tackle 21st century health care challenges. Students benefit from the University’s affiliation with Sutter Health and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center through personalized instruction and hands-on clinical training. Nurses graduating from SMU are in great demand and enjoy one of the highest rates of employment within one year of graduation.

According to Sue Valencia, executive director of development and alumni affairs for SMU, private financial support is critical for enabling bright, qualified students to attend nursing school and fulfill their dreams of becoming health care professionals.

“The grant from the Osher Foundation greatly reduces the financial burden placed on students,” says Valencia. “What’s more, an endowment fund provides ongoing resources to meet the needs of our students, year after year.” Because an endowment’s principal must be invested and only the income can be used for its intended purpose, these gifts create financial stability and allow the university to build for the future.”

The Osher Foundation’s donation was part of more than $4.3 million in scholarship contributions given to Samuel Merritt University in 2009 by generous donors.

How You Can Help

Contributions to Sutter Health and its affiliates are applied according to donors’ wishes within the local community. Donated funds support vital medical programs, services and equipment needs.

If you would like to invest in your community by improving the availability and quality of health-related services, please contact us at 916-286-6826 or philanthropy@sutterhealth.org. Throughout our health care network, staff members are available to help match your giving interests to the community’s needs.


Generous Gifts Reflect Donor’s Gratitude

Cancer and cardiac services
Sutter Roseville Medical Center
Donor: Albert Wolf

Albert Wolf has a special place in his heart for hospital caregivers. He also knows what a difference well-equipped hospitals can make for patients battling life-threatening illnesses.

Albert is particularly grateful for the personal, compassionate care his beloved wife Elma received over the years from Sutter Roseville Medical Center (SRMC). In 1989, Elma was diagnosed with breast cancer. Before, during and after her treatments at SRMC, Wolf did his best to keep his wife comfortable and her outlook upbeat.

After a 10-year battle with the disease, Elma passed away peacefully.

In her memory, Albert established the Elma Wolf Endowment Fund to make a difference for other families battling cancer. The special fund helped establish the Elma Wolf Cancer Resource Center located within Sutter Roseville Medical Center. The resource center, which opened in 2000, provides many programs and services, including:

  • Cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment services, including nutrition programs
  • Classes and support groups for cancer patients and family members. Classes offered include fitness, healthy eating and lymphedema education.
  • Educational and training programs for health care professionals covering the latest breast cancer treatment techniques and procedures

“We’ve lost too many women to breast cancer,” says Albert. “I want every woman to take charge of her health through regular self-exams, diagnostic screenings and rapid response to the early signs. Breast cancer is an epidemic that I want to stop.”

Investing in Quality Care

Two years ago, Albert was faced with his own medical crisis when dizzy spells and other unusual symptoms landed him in the SRMC Emergency Department. He was referred to Sutter-affiliated Roseville Cardiology Medical Associates, where doctors performed two procedures. First, they placed a stent to keep his coronary arteries open. Next, they implanted a pacemaker to help him maintain a normal, healthy heart rate and rhythm.

Now, at age 87, Albert is on the road to better health, helping himself by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. “They sure knew what they were doing,” he says about his doctors and nurses. “I have so much appreciation for the Emergency Department staff, and the cardiac team is top-notch. I’ve been so fortunate to have great caregivers at Sutter all my life.”

From the Heart: A Second Gift

In recognition of the excellent care both he and his wife received at SRMC, Albert recently made a second major financial donation to the hospital—this time benefiting cardiac services. His gift will help purchase state-of-the-art cardiac equipment, as SRMC prepares to become a regional center for treating heart attack and stroke. His gift also enables the hospital to participate in a pilot project under the newly passed California Senate Bill 891--the Elective Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Pilot Program--which allows six California hospitals without an on-site cardiac surgery program to perform elective percutaneous intervention procedures, such as angioplasty and stent placement. The pilot program expands SRMC’s available cardiac services, enabling residents to stay in their community for treatment.

Albert is confident that his latest gift will benefit many patients for years to come. “I want people to know that we have a great health care system in Roseville. Anyone considering making a donation should know their gift will be spent wisely.”

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