ThedaCare Family of Foundations Works with Donors to Give Back
Sylvia Adessa and her husband, Phil, had always planned to leave an estate gift in their will for their children to distribute on their behalf. Because Sylvia had been employed as ThedaCare’s community hospice foundation coordinator, it was an easy choice for them to name the foundation as one of their recipients.
“I loved meeting the families who used the service for their loved ones for end-of-life care, and was honored to be the person who said ‘thank you’ for financial gifts given in memory of their family members,” Adessa said. “It didn’t take long for me to feel passionate about the work I was doing.”
The Adessas began their charitable contributions to the foundation as soon as she became coordinator in 2003. “If I was going to ask the community for financial donations, we needed to contribute as well,” she said. “When I discovered that each dollar, combined with others, helps to develop outstanding programs and services for hospice families, we decided to consider an estate gift.”
The Adessas are now members of the Promise Circle, a recognition society of planned giving for the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. “We felt the Appleton community was such a vital part of our family’s upbringing, and we wanted to leave a gift that would go on to help others in years to come,” Adessa said.
Planned gifts have allowed the ThedaCare Family of Foundations to purchase new equipment, renovate exam and operating rooms, provide training and professional development opportunities for nursing staff and more, said Shane Kohl, regional development director of impact and planned giving.
It’s easy to work with the foundation to set up a gift, which can be designated to fund a particular department, location or service, Kohl said. Oftentimes, people who have been patients themselves or have had a family member receive care at ThedaCare want to give back to the physicians and care providers who helped them.
“That’s why we hope that individuals who are thinking about including us in their estate plans let us know, so we can help make sure those dollars are designated in the way the donor would prefer,” Kohl said.
Other donors choose to keep their gifts undesignated or unrestricted to allow ThedaCare flexibility in funding for whatever the current highest priority need may be, Kohl said. Talking to a financial advisor before setting up a planned giving donation is important, and the foundation can help recommend local advisors if donors don’t already have their own.
Sylvia Adessa said anyone can become a member of the Promise Circle. “We are ‘common folk’ who were not leaders in a community or come from ‘old money’ with an enormous bank account,” she said. “Our plan was simple: Give back to others as best you can, and try and make a positive impact in a community that was good to us.”
Potential donors can visit the foundation’s website plannedgiving.thedacare.org to learn more about the options, which include wills and living trusts, beneficiary designations, charitable trusts, real estate gifts, memorials, endowments and donor advised funds. To learn more about these planned giving options, contact Shane Kohl at 920.380.7920 or email Shane.Kohl@thedacare.org.
For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 32 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service. For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.