George Macri is a long‑time donor, volunteer, and friend of Providence Healthcare Foundation. This month, he stopped by to see his philanthropy in action and graciously sat down with the Foundation staff for a quick chat about his involvement with Providence and why he is such an engaged supporter. Here is what our friend George had to say.
Q: What is your connection to Providence Healthcare which led you to first get involved in support of our initiatives? What inspires you to continue to give, and to support our current campaign, Hope Starts Here?
A: My parents spent the end of their lives at Providence, so I found myself here quite a bit. As I was walking through the hospital lobby one day, I saw a sign that was advertising a Providence Foundation golf tournament, barbecue and auction event, all wrapped into one. I had never attended a Providence Foundation event before, but I thought to myself, “why not?” and that is how it all started.
After attending quite a few events over the years, Jennifer Stewart, who heads up the Providence Foundation, asked me to get involved as a golf committee member. This was about 15 years ago.
Q: After all this time, what inspires you to continue to give in so many ways and to support our current campaign, Hope Starts Here?
A: I have been giving back to Providence for some time now. Benefiting the patients and staff and seeing to the most pressing needs of Providence is number one. I feel fortunate that I’m able to make an impact. You also get to see the good work that’s being done here. The renovations in the Palliative Care and rehab spaces, made possible by Hope Starts Here contributions, are great examples of the good work made possible by donors.
Q: What is it about Providence that stands out in importance for you? What makes Providence so special in your eyes?
A: Energy. There is energy in this hospital among the staff, including the Foundation staff. Everywhere you go, there’s just a good feeling. I see it in the residents here too. When you smile at a resident, they smile back and they are happy to see you.
Q: Do you have any fun or unique stories from your experiences at Providence or from the events you have attended, that you’d like to share?
A: All roads lead to Providence. I remember visiting my mother at Providence and, as we were saying goodbye for the day, we both noticed a man in a wheel chair looking at my mother from across the room. The man comes barreling over in his wheelchair and began yelling out “Anne Cordone!” My mother was this man’s teacher in the 40’s or 50’s… Can you believe it? My mother looked right at him and knew exactly who he was. That was a really special moment for all of us.
Q: Providence Healthcare is celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2017. Do you have any special memories of Providence Healthcare or the Sisters of St. Joseph?
A: There are many lovely sisters here who do a lot of good. Sister Mary Anne McCarthy and Sister Roberta Freeman, come to mind. One of Sister Roberta’s responsibilities over the years was to share words of wisdom as it relates to the golf tournament as well as manage the weather. Sister Roberta prayed for good golfing weather—and admirably, she did! Sister Roberta is retired now, but she is still on call for the prayers!
Q: What do you wish other people knew about Providence?
A: How wonderful the people are.
I also wish people in the community had greater awareness of the programs offered at Providence. I mean it. Providence has everything from an Adult Day Program for patients with severe Alzheimer’s and dementia, to a state-of-the-art rehab program that helps patients get better and go home much sooner than the national average. Providence is even making strides in investing in their staff, with the creation of a new Knowledge Centre, equipped with two medical simulation labs, collaboration spaces, and a staff resource centre.
People should also know about the technological advances that Providence is making in the name of patient care such as using green screen technology for physical therapy. It doesn’t end there. I am excited to be funding a new telecommunications project that will go live this year—in a few months from now, non-English speaking outpatients will be able to call Providence for information regarding their individual care plans, in their native tongue.
Q: What would you tell someone who may be thinking of donating to or volunteering for Providence?
A: Your contributions are very well spent and go directly to the programs and services that need it most. When you decide to get involved as a donor, you will have NO regrets. It gives me joy to donate and I have no doubt that it will give others that same joy.
Q: Do you have any additional special messages to add?
A: Providence, over the years, has been a front runner in advancing everything they have here, from the long-term Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence to the new Knowledge Centre for staff, which will be opening next year. Providence is ahead of the curve and so proactive. Providence has such a clear vision for innovation, design and delivering the best care possible for patients and residents, alike.
Thank you, George Macri, for sharing your story.