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SBL WomenConnected Reaches 16 Years of Giving

April 23, 2019 10:25 a.m.

Sarah Bush Lincoln community programs received additional funding through the generosity of WomenConnected, a women’s giving circle within the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation. The group recently awarded $50,675 in grants to eight programs and projects within the Health System, bringing the group’s total giving to $672,048 in 16 years.

WomenConnected is comprised of 87 women from Coles and surrounding counties, as well as Georgia and Texas who, through their membership contributions, help fund and direct the expansion of services provided by Sarah Bush Lincoln.

The group most recently awarded grants to programs including SBL Dental Services, Healthy Communities, I Sing the Body Electric, Peace Meal, Care Coordination, Center for Healthy Living and an additional $10,000 to the Health Foundation’s Heart Center capital campaign, Life…Nothing Beats It! The awards will be available in fiscal year ‘20.

Charter member Tess Melvin said, “Together, this community of givers is making a substantial impact on services that are geared to our most vulnerable populations. I’m so grateful to continue to be a part of an amazing group of philanthropic leaders.”

“Individually these women make a membership contribution. Contributions are then pooled together into a fund that provides grants resulting in significant support to our programs and services at Sarah Bush Lincoln. And the best thing is, members have a voice on which programs they want to support,” Amy Card, SBL Health Foundation Director, said. “I think each member takes pride in the fact that it’s rewarding to be a part of a larger effort that is truly impacting the lives of people across our service area. And for our members to have given more than $650,000 in just 16 years, impacting thousands of people, is remarkable,” she added.

Dental Services received nearly $29,000 to provide restorative and preventive care to children without dental insurance and oral hygiene kits to children on the free and reduced lunch program. The kits include toothbrushes, tooth paste, and floss.

Dental Services Director and WomenConnected member Laura Bollan said, “With the help of WomenConnected, we are able to help thousands of children. Many of the children we work with don’t have a toothbrush, and sometimes they share one with a family member, so when they get their own dental kit, they are all smiles.” She added that the key to the success of the dental program is the restorative work funded by WomenConnected that happens in dental offices and on a mobile operatory.

“Children come to us in pain due to tooth decay and infection which impacts their young lives in so many ways, from inability to focus in school because of the pain, to dropping out of their social circle because they are embarrassed of their decaying teeth. Our goal is to provide the tools and education to prevent this from happening. The generosity of WomenConnected helps us do this,” Bollan said.

Other grant funds were awarded to I Sing the Body Electric to help fund presentations regarding cyber bullying and social media safety; to Healthy Kids Education for fitness equipment for elementary schools that helps kids concentrate in the classroom.

Lastly, WomenConnected provided $3105 for bathroom scales to people with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in a greater effort to keep them healthy and out of the hospital. Care Coordination works with people with CHF providing them with education, and the tools to monitor their daily weight. A few pounds of weight gain a day can indicate the person is retaining fluids and needs to seek help before their health is compromised. Care Coordination Director Carol Ray, RN, said, “Something as simple as weighing and recording your weight daily can mean the difference between staying healthy or being admitted to the hospital in congestive heart failure. We have found that by providing the scale to people in need, we are able to reduce their chances of readmission. We’re very grateful to WomenConnected to understanding the value of this program. I, too, am glad to be a member.”

The group also gave $10,000, the second of its two-year pledge to the Health Foundation’s capital campaign, Life…Nothing Beats to help fund the new $31 million Heart Center.

WomenConnected members include: Carol Adams, Fatima Alao, Cathy Babbs, Vickie Baker, Ann Beck, Kristen Bliss, Charleston, *Sally Bock, Laura Bollan, Mary Bovard, *Judy Brown, Amanda Burton, Amy Card, Beth Catt, Lori Cudone, Sabra Culp, Jeanne Cunningham, Debbie Dameron, Jeanne Dau, Dixie Dickens, *Sheila Dively, Samantha Eggleston, Lana Esker, Sharon Fox, Carol Jo Fritts, Laura Glenn, Kelly Green, Barb Hall, Marlee Hansen, Wendy Hastings, Susie Hay, Katie Hecksel, *Patty Hedges, Lisa Hernandez, Jodi Hildebrandt, Leslie Hill, Star Hill, Sasha Hollman, *Barbara Hoppin, Maggie Huffman, Julie Hunt, Linda Keeler, Peggy Kepp, Roxanne Lilly, Karen Lindley, Kim Lockart, *Joyce Madigan, Nancy Marlow, Michelle Mathews, Tracey McCord, *Tess Melvin, Becky Metzger, *Melanie Mills, Laurie Mooney, Carol Myerscough, Doreen Nelms, Nancy Nguyen, Cheryl Noll, Diana Oakley, Marcia Parker, Kirsten Pentzien, Erica Perrino Linda Perry, Patty Peterson, Jerri Pine, Bernie Pluard, Carol Ray, Allyson Richards, Debbie Sandercock, Nancy Schilling, Karla Schubert, Diane Senteney, Karen Smith, Ruth Smith, Debbie Sparks, Erica Stollard, *Colleen Stoner, Jenny Swearingen, Margie Swensen, Nancy Swits, Leslie Taggart, *Edie Terwilliger, Kim Uphoff, Linda Wente, Janet White, Mary Lou Wild, Lauri DeRuiter-Willems, Pat Williamson, Jone Zieren.

*Charter Member since 2003.

For more information about WomenConnected, contact Card at 217 258-2511 or acard@sblhs.org.

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