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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 Center 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 a cardiac specialty care clinic in collaboration with VNA Health Care, a group education class on diet and exercise, 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 Support Center

While Rush Copley currently offers many of the latest medical technologies available in fighting cancer, our new 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 recent grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley underwrote a wireless interpretation system that provides simultaneous interpretation for community education presenters. The system allows our Spanish-speaking participants to benefit from more of the excellent programming offered at Waterford Place. In addition, the grant paid for video equipment to record cooking demonstrations and lectures for later viewing, and to improve viewing for participants in the back of the room.

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 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 Heart Health, 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, and to Rush Copley from The Dunham Fund.

During its second year of operation, the Step by Step Program has enrolled 260 patients, 64% of whom experienced a reduction in their blood pressure readings, and 48% of whom lost weight.  All of the participants increased their level of physical activity through the program, and virtually all (99%) reported having shared information learned through the program with their friends and family.  The program successfully prevented 96% of participants from being admitted to a hospital during the course of their participation.

Advance Care Planning

A $100,000 grant award from the William Randolph Hearst Foundations supports Rush Copley’s Advance Care Planning Program. Our goal is to help more patients complete Advance Directives and upload copies to our electronic medical records. The dedicated staff resource and training underwritten through this grant will improve the ability of physicians and other health care providers to respect older patients’ wishes for avoiding repeated hospitalization and over-treatment of advanced illness, with an increased focus on pain management and maximizing quality of life.

Food Prescription Program

Fresh and Local Rx

Rush Copley is partnering 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.  After this one-year pilot program, Kane County plans to roll out the program countywide through its new Food Hub, which is currently in the final stages of development. 

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 come to pick up their box of produce they will attend a nutrition education session including menu planning and a cooking demonstration focusing on the food in each box.  Patient surveys will be 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. 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.