October 21st, 2003

Contact:      Jennifer Kurczek
      Community Relations Director

      (920)361-5481 or jkurczek@partnershealth.org



The Gift of Health:

 CHN Foundation designed to help local residents deal with medical needs


(BERLIN)—While most healthcare foundations focus on raising monies for construction projects and other capital expenditures, the Community Health Network (CHN) Foundation has a considerably different twist.


Through its Lucille Schultz Caring For Kids and Sandy Tincher Trust Funds, the 501 (c) (3) charitable giving organization provides financial grants to area families experiencing the economic hardships medical situations often lead to.


“Community Health Network was created because of community need, and beyond hands-on medical care, our CHN Foundation was created for the same reason,” said Craig W.C. Schmidt, CHN’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Helping local families with the challenges of dealing with devastating medical situations enables CHN to further fulfill our mission of improving the health and quality of life in the communities we serve.”


Lucille Schultz Caring For Kids, supported by funds raised through the annual CHN Charity Golf Classic, helps children and their families who experiencing catastrophic medical needs. The Sandy Tincher Trust Fund, established in memory of local resident Sandy Tincher, provides financial assistance and supportive services to adults experiencing serious medical problems.


To qualify for grant funding through the CHN Foundation, an applicant must reside within the CHN Service Area (see map) and be diagnosed with a medical, dental or mental health problem that is life threatening; long term; or temporary and the family lacks the financial resources to provide necessary corrective treatment. Grants are provided in-kind and need not be paid back, and the recipient of funding is not required to be a CHN patient.


Through the past five years, prior to the incorporation of the Foundation, CHN has provided tens of thousands of dollars in assistance to local families – so they can focus on dealing with the medical issue at hand rather than how they are going to pay for it.


Take 13-year-old Kayla Smith of Berlin, and her parents, Ken and Kim. In February of 2000, Kayla was diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a diagnosis that carries a 60-percent cure rate if treated aggressively and early.


Kayla began intensive chemotherapy treatments in Madison which spanned the course of two years. Although covered under health insurance offered through Kim’s work, the expenses of traveling to Madison for specialized healthcare several times weekly became a serious concern for the Smith family.


To cover the family’s added costs, Ken not only worked at his regular full-time position, but also took on two other part-time jobs to generate income. Balancing her job responsibilities while transporting Kayla to appointments and caring for her after chemo treatments, Kim exhausted her paid vacation and sick leave benefits.


“We were at the point of having to sell our personal belongings or ask family and friends for their help as a last resort,” Kim said. “But then a coworker told me about the Caring for Kids Fund through CHN – and how it can provide grants to working folks, like us, who don’t qualify for medical assistance yet cannot cover our medical expenses with our income.”


The Smiths received a Caring For Kids grant to underwrite outstanding bills for office co-payments, numerous prescriptions and travel expenses.


“Getting help from the CHN Foundation lifted a huge burden off our shoulders during a very difficult time for our family,” Kim said. “We were able to devote our energies to getting Kayla better instead of stressing out about how we were going to pay for her care.”


Having concluded chemotherapy treatments four months ago, today Kayla is considered to be in remission from her disease and is “like a normal, healthy teenager,” her mother said. She continues to see her oncologist on a regular basis for monitoring, but once she has been in remission for five years, when she is 18 years old, Kayla will be considered cured.


Applications for CHN Foundation grants to individuals and families are available on the CHN website and www.communityhealthnetwork.org, most schools and county health departments, or by calling Jennifer Kurczek, CHN Community Relations Director, at (920)361-5481.


The CHN Foundation is directed by a Board of Directors, consisting of representatives of the CHN service area; Development and Planned Giving, Grants, and Investment Committees; and CHN administrative staff. The 2003 CHN Foundation Board roster includes Chairman Michael Starshak; Green Lake; Vice Chairman Craig Berkoben, Wild Rose; Secretary/Treasurer Jodi Timler Olmen, Green Lake; Peggy Cotterill, Markesan; Attorney Clay Dutcher, Wautoma; Dave Peterson, Wautoma; and Clyde Simonson, Wautoma.


Members of the CHN Foundation’s Grants Committee, which reviews applications, are Starshak; Berkoben; Kurczek; Betty Eannelli, and Terri Mauel, while the Investment Committee consists of Starshak, Timler Olmen and Tom Krystowiak, CHN Vice President of Finance.


The Development and Planned Giving Committee, which crafts and implements the Foundation’s strategic fundraising plan, includes Dutcher, Simonson, Kurczek, John Garbis, Sue Kuehn, Steve Michaelson, Karen Peterson, Wendy Seaman, Susie Thom, and Don Tincher.


Anyone interested in serving on the CHN Foundation Board of Directors or a Committee of the Board is encouraged to contact Jennifer Kurczek at (920)361-5481.