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The Impact of Philanthropy

Grants and donations make it possible for Rush-Copley to live its promise of providing extraordinary patient care each and every time.  This promise is one that cannot be achieved without the involvement of numerous stakeholders who share in a common ideology that “together, we can make a difference.”

Rush-Copley Foundation gratefully acknowledges the many different partners who have intentionally chosen to invest in projects, programs, and initiatives that are elevating, enhancing, and transforming the health and wellness of the communities Rush-Copley is privileged to serve.  What follows are recent examples of the wonderful way in which, “together, we can make a difference,” is being realized.

Waterford Place

Waterford Place: Cancer Support Center

Proceeds from our 2016 gala, “Joie de Vivre,” and Rich Harvest Classic golf tournament benefit Rush-Copley’s new cancer resource center, Waterford Place, which opened in December, 2015. While Rush-Copley currently offers many of the latest medical technologies available in fighting cancer, Waterford Place was designed to provide additional psychosocial support not previously available within the Aurora and Kendall County areas. The center’s programs include individual counseling and group support, exercise, expressive therapies (art, music and movement), mind-body classes/services, massage therapy, wig fitting assistance, dietary consultations and cooking demonstrations, peer socializing, and child-life programming. And, these services are offered in Waterford Place’s warm, welcoming, homelike atmosphere. Individuals and families need these kinds of supportive, non-clinical resources to meet the challenge of a cancer diagnosis — resources and programs that are not typically reimbursed by insurers. Enter the vital role of philanthropy. Generous gifts completely support the operations of Waterford Place.


The annual Rich Harvest Classic also benefits Waterford Place. This golf tournament takes place in July at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, recognized as one of the Top 50 courses in the nation. Hosted by Jerry Rich and the Rich Family, this event has raised a cumulative total of more than $2 million since it began 20 years ago. Rush-Copley has a very special friend in the Rich Family. In addition, the event receives strong support from community members and physicians, but particularly Rush-Copley’s corporate partners. Wholehearted thanks go to Sodexo, a long term donor to Rush-Copley and the premier sponsor of the event, for many years.

Step by Step Program

Step by Step to Wellness

A grant received from The Alfred Bersted Foundation has enabled Rush-Copley Medical Center and VNA Health Care to continue co-managing the Aurora Community Heart Clinic, the only clinic that provides specialty cardiac care to vulnerable populations in Southern Kane and Kendall Counties.  The funding also supported the launch of a group education program, Step by Step to Wellness, that helps these heart patients adopt healthy lifestyle habits to reduce their risk of heart disease.  Program activities include individual clinic consultations, diagnostic testing, group education on preventing or managing cardiovascular and other chronic disease, cooking demonstrations, low-impact group fitness sessions, and community walking clubs.  Supplemental grant funds were awarded for this program to VNA Health Care from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.  


During its first year of operation, the Step by Step to Wellness Program has already established a track record of success:

More than 150 patients were enrolled in the Step by Step to Wellness Program, 72% of whom experienced a reduction in their blood pressure readings, and 64% of whom lost weight.  All of the participants increased their level physical activity through the program, and 88% reported having a healthier diet.  The program successfully prevented 96% of participants from being admitted to a hospital during the course of their participation.

Diabetes Education

Because Medicaid does not reimburse for the cost of diabetes education, Rush-Copley Medical Center uses charitable resources to provide individualized coaching and education to 85 to 100 low-income patients who would otherwise struggle with self-managing their chronic disease.  Patients receive a broad range of coaching on diet and physical activity, and support for their efforts at ongoing monitoring and managing their blood sugar levels.  The education we provide results in an average reduction of 15% in patients' A1c measurement of blood sugar levels.  This program, generously supported for a number of years with grants from The Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation, is also supported by donations from Rush-Copley employees and the Fox Valley Heart Fund.  The annual “Rock the Heart” fundraising event, held the last Friday in September at Ballydoyle Irish Pub in Aurora, is the primary source of community support for the Fox Valley Heart Fund.

Car Seat Safety

Traffic Safety and Child Car Seats

Through an annual grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Rush-Copley is helping reduce injuries and fatalities in traffic crashes in our region. We focus on community outreach and education, such as events where we offer free child safety seat checks, or speaking at high schools about safety belt use and the dangers of distracted driving. Rush-Copley’s Child Passenger Safety Coordinator, Clare Pfotenhauer, is available to provide presentations and informational exhibits at area conferences, expos, community events, or even block parties. She also provides training to citizens who choose to become a Child Passenger Safety Technician as well as assists in re-certifying those who have already been trained.

Big Heart Family Fund

Gifts, no matter how small, can have a big impact. Dr. Nicole Keller recognized this potential with the simple but urgent needs of some of the families she treats. Dr. Keller saw that sometimes families need help to protect their health and well being. From permanent housing to diapers and proper nutrition for newborns, Dr. Keller and her colleague Dr. Paul Granoff enlisted the help of others to create change. They were instrumental in securing a Rush-Copley Foundation grant for Rush-Copley Medical Group to establish the Big Heart Family Fund. The fund is now helping families in need, providing health and safety equipment, parenting books, children’s books and developmental toys. In addition, both physicians and staff recognized the importance of sustaining the fund each year, and it has led Drs. Keller, Granoff and others to donate more than triple the original grant, with a commitment for more in future years.

The Big Heart Family Fund was created and receives ongoing support from employees and friends of Rush-Copley and Rush-Copley Medical Group, and especially from those who love Lynn Barclay, a nurse with Rush-Copley Pediatrics and Family Medicine for many years. A genuine and caring person, she is the inspiration for this fund.