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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.”

The Foundation exists to support the priorities of Rush Copley Medical Center and, specifically, programs which provide or improve access to care, patient & community education, training for our health professionals and patient care improvement. Most of the programs and services supported by the Foundation rely completely on philanthropy, including:

Copley Community Care Fund
Provides free prescription medications, bus passes and simple homecare equipment to more than 150 low-income patients each year, enabling them to manage their own health and avoid readmission to the hospital.

Movement Disorders Program
Offers support groups, art and music therapy, exercise classes, and a wide array of educational programs, free of charge, to approximately 350 patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders each year.

Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center
Offers a wide array of free classes, support groups, counseling and holistic offerings like nutrition, fitness, art/music therapy, salon services, massage, yoga and meditation. Programs are open to anyone in our community impacted by a cancer diagnosis.

Fox Valley Heart Fund
The Fund supports 200 patient visits annually to participate in classes on diet and exercise in collaboration with VNA Health Care, an annual heart survivor walk, the Heart Sisters Support Group, diabetes education, and donates AEDs to local nonprofits.

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 Garden

Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center

While Rush Copley currently offers many of the latest medical technologies available in fighting cancer, our cancer resource center, 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.

For instance, a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure will fund psychosocial support, including counseling, support groups, education programs and wig-fitting, to low-income, Latina and African American breast cancer patients. The project includes the hiring of a part-time bilingual breast cancer support specialist to conduct outreach and facilitate participation in the area’s only Spanish language psychosocial support programming.  The goal is for more women like this to engage in programming that reduces cancer-related stress and symptoms, lowers the likelihood of cancer recurrence, boosts mood, and arms them with better knowledge about their diagnosis and treatment options.

A grant from Ball Horticultural Company enabled us to launch a horticulture therapy program in 2017. Cancer patients helped plant and nurture crops in four raised planting beds, including herbs, tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, squash, cucumbers, and peppers. Guest speakers addressed the topics of herbs, microgreens, havesting seeds, and more. Participants shared a harvest dinner made from the vegetables they grew. The remainder of the produce was used in cooking demonstrations at Waterford Place that focus on how healthy food choices can alleviate side effects of cancer treatment and lower the risk of cancer recurrence.

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 a group education program, Step by Step to Heart Health, that helps heart patients adopt healthy lifestyle habits to reduce their risk of heart disease.  Program activities include group education on preventing or managing cardiovascular and other chronic disease, cooking demonstrations, low-impact group fitness sessions, and community walking clubs.

The Step by Step Program reaches 260 patients, 45% of whom experienced a reduction in their blood pressure readings, and 45% of whom lost weight.  All of the participants increased their level of physical activity through the program, and all reported having shared information learned through the program with their friends and family.  The program successfully prevented 100% of participants from being admitted to a hospital during the course of their participation.

Group Exercise for Patients with Movement Disorders

Rush Copley’s Movement Disorders Program helps individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, essential tremor, and other movement disorders achieve the highest possible quality of life. It includes support groups, art and music therapy, exercise classes and educational programs. All of these programs are funded entirely through philanthropy and offered free of charge to approximately 150 patients in Kane and Kendall counties. Exercise classes include Delay the Disease©, boxing and aqua exercise, all designed to counteract the movement challenges experienced by people with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders.

In 2019-2020, a community grant of $22,000 from the Parkinson’s Foundation is funding our group exercise programs (both on land and water) in our Healthplex fitness facility, a 166,000 square-foot facility that offers the very latest in equipment and creative, medically-sound fitness and wellness programs. Each week, approximately 60 individuals benefit from these grant-funded classes that have a proven track record of improving both physical and mental well-being in patients with movement disorders.

Fresh and Local Rx

In 2018, Rush Copley partnered with Kane County on a pilot food prescription program, Fresh and Local Rx, to identify which locally-grown fruits and vegetables are both culturally appropriate to vulnerable populations, which can be feasibly grown by farmers, and which are recommended by physicians and dietitians.

Telligen Community Initiative* awarded a $50,000 grant to Rush Copley to cover nine boxes of locally-grown fresh produce delivered to each of 50 participants from May to October, 2018, and nine cooking demonstrations/nutrition counseling sessions.  When participants came to pick up their box of produce they attended a nutrition education session including menu planning and a cooking demonstration focusing on the food in each box.  Patient surveys were used to gauge which fruits and vegetables were preferred and incorporated into the family’s regular diet. 

*This project was funded in part by the Telligen Community Initiative to initiate and support, through research and programs, innovative and farsighted health-related projects aimed at improving the health, social well-being and educational attainment of society, where such needs are expressed.

Big Heart Family Fund

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. She and Dr. Paul Granoff secured 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 recognition of the therapeutic value of family reading time, the Big Heart Family Fund also partners with Reach Out and Read, an evidence-based nonprofit organization, to provide a free children’s book on every visit from 6-months through 5 years of age.  Not only does reading together lay the groundwork for things like improved concentration, cognition and imagination, it helps create a strong sense of trust and intimacy as essential to a child’s well-being as check-ups and immunizations.

To sustain this Fund, the physicians and staff in Dr. Keller’s practice, Rush Copley Pediatrics and Family Medicine in Oswego, have donated more than triple the amount of the original grant.  In May 2019, Rush Copley’s annual gala fundraising dinner and auction benefited both the Big Heart Family Fund and our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, providing a substantial infusion of funds to these programs so vital to getting our most vulnerable patients off to the best start possible.

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.

NICU baby

Tiny Patients, Big Needs

The Rush Copley Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is where newborns receive intensive medical attention due to birth defects and prematurity. A renovation project is currently underway to provide all private rooms for our NICU patients.

Philanthropy is making it possible to include a Parent Resource Room in this renovation program. Supplied with computers, reference books and pamphlets, this room will be a calming, healing and nurturing environment where parents can grab a snack or a drink, read a book, catch up on office work, or even watch a movie – many of the everyday life activities that have been interrupted by their baby’s hospitalization. This room will also house the "book mobile" for the NICU’s shared reading program, giving parents an opportunity to choose a variety of books suitable for babies and toddlers, to read at the beside or take home. Donations also support a family transportation fund, for help getting to and from the hospital and meals for those who need it.