Susan Unger, President of St. Luke's Foundation
Connecting donors' passions with the needs of Siouxland
A Sioux City, Iowa native, Susan Unger knows firsthand the impact St. Luke's has on Siouxland. Susan's own father received cardiac care at St. Luke's, she celebrated the birth of her daughter in the hospital's birth center, and sadly, Susan's mother passed away at St. Luke's.
"I know what it's like to be both a patient and loved one of someone at St. Luke's, and the deeply important emotional connection patients, families and St. Luke's staff share during a patient's time at St. Luke's," she says.
Susan realized her own love for philanthropy the very first time she had the privilege of connecting a donor's passion with the organization's need. Throughout her long career in philanthropy and work with St. Luke's, which began nearly 25 years ago, Susan continues to be inspired by donors' dreams to make the local community a better place for future generations.
"Our supporters want to be a part of transforming healthcare at St. Luke's, and donors know I am committed to discovering ways of helping achieve their dreams. I am truly one of the luckiest people, because I have the privilege of working and knowing those who share this vision and seeing the sense of joy and accomplishment they feel when their own passions are ignited."
Anne Holmes, Director of Children's Miracle Network
A leap of faith to make a world of difference
A career in television provided Cherokee, Iowa native Anne Holmes with many things including a fast-paced life and the bright lights of the big city. It also provided her with something unexpected-the realization she had the ability to do more.
An opportunity to work alongside Children's Miracle Network at an event five years ago further fueled Anne's passion to make a difference.
"In 2009, the TV station I was working at partnered with Children's Miracle Network for a three-week event. It was my first, direct involvement with the organization, and I was surprised by the volunteers' commitment and passion as well as the event's goal of $25,000. It was only enough to cover the cost of one NICU bed," recalls Anne. "I was moved to tears at the end of the event, overwhelmed by the selflessness of people who were giving to kids they may never meet."
Soon after, Holmes left her job in TV and went to work for a local health care system where she handled media relations for Children's Miracle Network. A difficult pregnancy and unexpected premature delivery of her son Hayden two years later re-ignited Holmes' passion for Children's Miracle Network-and a desire to move back closer to home.
"Since our son was born, we have quickly learned it takes a village to raise a child. My position with St. Luke's Children's Miracle Network is a perfect fit for me, my husband and son because it allowed us to move closer to home. Plus, it gives me a chance to give back to Children's Miracle Network and make a difference for kids in years to come," says Anne. "Every child deserves a childhood. If we can buy one more piece of equipment that might give that to a child, it's worth it."
The generosity of Children's Miracle Network supporters and families continues to amaze Anne even years after her first experience with the organization.
"Some families have little bumps in the road at the beginning of their baby's life, some have life-long challenges. At the end of the day, they are all connected by the love for their children, shared feelings of uncertainty, concern and hope for the future and their gratitude for St. Luke's Children's Miracle Network."
Rocky Welker, Development Director
Committed to serving Siouxland
Plenty of experience in serving the Siouxland community has led Rocky Welker to UnityPoint Health – St. Luke's.
Prior to joining St. Luke's team, Rocky served as the Executive Director or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland for more than 3 years.
"I know firsthand the difference one person can make in the lives of others," Rocky says. "For years I've worked in Siouxland to find ways to create a positive, long lasting impact on the great people around us."
His passion for serving the community extends beyond his career. Rocky also serves as a board member for the Sioux City Growth Organization and the Nebraska Youth Rugby Association.
"My goal is help others find a way to give back to the community that has afforded us so many opportunities in life," he says. "I feel it is our duty to try to and make our community a better place to live."
Rocky's favorite part of his job is the opportunities he has to reach out to and collaborate with community members.
"I enjoy meeting with people in our community and listening to what they are passionate about. I then get the opportunity to help connect them to an avenue that enables them to see their vision come to life. It is both exciting and rewarding to help people through that journey."
Tricia Rogers, Development Director
Working to make Siouxland an outstanding community
Tricia knew she was "home" after her first day back at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's after a year away.
"I was walking through the parking ramp when I spotted a familiar face. Before I knew it, this individual approached me with excitement to find out what I was doing here."
Tricia, who had previously worked as an Alumni and Events Coordinator for St. Luke's College – UnityPoint Health, knew by the individual's smile and warm welcome that she had made the right decision in coming back to UnityPoint Health. "Knowing you have that impact on someone, that they remember you after over a year away, it's a pretty good feeling."
This feeling carries over into Tricia's desire to make Siouxland the best community it can be. She lives in the community and feels like it's just "who I am." From her work with the Iowa National Guard, to the fundraising that she will do with the UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Foundation, she knows all of her efforts go to ensure a "strong community with resources for quality, affordable education and health care."
Working with individuals and families to allow for their legacy, to be paired with a need, is what Tricia says she enjoys most about working in development/philanthropy.
"There's nothing greater than seeing the two connect: the impact that's being made not only on the organization with their gift, but also the impact made on the individual of seeing their dream for an organization come to life."
Christy Stinger, Development Coordinator
Understanding the impact of giving back
Ask Christy Stinger what philanthropy means to her, and her answer may surprise you.
"When you believe in something, it's less about fundraising and more about your excitement and passion for a project-and inviting others to share that with you," says Christy, a South Sioux City native.
Past experience as a reporter in Clarinda, Iowa, fueled Christy's fresh perspective on fundraising. She witnessed first-hand the impact gifts could have on those in the small Iowan community, even volunteering herself after covering a story about the need for volunteers at the local Humane Society. A position in marketing and development at Jackson Recovery Centers in Sioux City, helping the team raise funds for the organization's Child and Adolescent Recovery Hospital, furthered Christy's belief in the power of giving back.
"When you invite people to make a difference in the lives of others, whether through giving of time, expertise or funds, people are incredibly generous. Giving to something that makes a difference feels great," she says.
Today, as Development Coordinator for St. Luke's Foundation, Christy's goal is to make sure donors understand the impact of their gifts. Most remarkably says Christy is that donors have the unique opportunity to give to their passions. If a donor wants to help cardiac patients, they can contribute to heart care at St. Luke's. Or, if their passion is to enhance a patient's overall experience, there are opportunities to give back to the Levitt Guest Center, neonatal intensive care unit or other funds adds Christy.
"We want every person who gives to St. Luke's Foundation to understand how grateful we are and how their generosity impacts the entire Siouxland community."
Jessica Wheeler, Development Coordinator for Children's Miracle Network
Motivated to make a difference for Siouxland families
An internship with the Children's Miracle Network of Sioux Falls was all it took for Jessica Wheeler to find her passion in non-profits. A move to Sioux City gave her another opportunity to work with an organization she had grown to love.
"I met with Anne Holmes and the team when my husband and I were making the move to Sioux City and knew that this was going to be the perfect fit for me," she recalls. "I have always had a strong passion to work with a non-profit organization; I just needed to find the right place for me."
Now, she wants everyone to realize how little it takes to make an impact on the kids Children's Miracle Network serves.
"I want to grow awareness in our community about the kids who are treated in our hospital and how they can make a difference too," says Jessica. She also wants families impacted by Children's Miracle Network to know she is committed to doing what is takes to get them the resources they need.
"My goal in this position is to grow closer to the families impacted by Children's Miracle Network and to help them in any way that they may need."
"The most important part of my job is to connect with the community with how their donations will impact our kids here at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke's. Without donations coming in, our kids may not have the lifesaving equipment they need."
Jessica has always been a believer in giving back to the community. "Always be grateful for what you have, because you never know in an instant how things can change."
Elizabeth Rossiter, Development Assistant
Giving back to the community that helped foster her growth
Elizabeth feels that she chose the right organization to work for every day that she comes to work at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's. She has grown so accustomed to the culture, and even more comfortable with the team that she works with, that it's hard for her to imagine life before working here.
She loves showing the community members that they matter and are valued. Getting out into the community and making connections with local members and businesses is a perk that Elizabeth enjoys. "I am just so 'wowed' by the feeling that I get working for the UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Foundation."
Born and raised in Sioux City, Elizabeth is committed to serving a community that has continually fostered her growth as a citizen and valued community member, and plans to use her skills, talents, and passions to make Sioux City a better place for ALL of its community members. "Having the opportunity to give back to my community through the St. Luke's Foundation is going to be an honor; one that I am eager and willing to take on head first."
"If there is anything in life you should invest in, whether it be financially, physically, or emotionally, it should be the healthcare system." Life is never promised, and you never know when you or a loved one might need the care or support from UnityPoint Health. That is why Elizabeth is making it her mission to support the St. Luke's Foundation in every facet that she can.
UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Foundation Board:
- Jim Palmer - Chairperson
- Amy Roth - Vice Chairperson
- John Wagner - Secretary
- Mike Crone - Treasurer
- Kyle Kelly
- Elise Kreisberg
- Joe Wren
- Matt Thompson
- Tasha Barker
- Dan Hermanson