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'Tis the season for giving. And what better to give than to the nonprofit organizations in the healthcare design industry that are helping to advance the field?

I'm not talking about professional design associations or credentialing organizations. But rather those organizations that engage in research, education, and advocacy efforts that stimulate new thinking about healthcare facility design.

Here are 7 that come to mind (listed in alphabetical order) that you can either donate to or support through membership:

1. The Caritas Project

This small organization focuses on teaching people about the "Generative Space" concept -- the core of which is respect for human dignity. Membership:  No. Key programs/resources:  Generative Space Award and The Health Design Leadership Program. President/Founder:  Wayne Ruga. Learn more or donate>>>

2. The Center for Health Design

Made up of a diverse community of design professionals, healthcare professionals, researchers, product manufacturers, educators, and students, CHD is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare through design of the built environment. Membership:  Yes.  Key programs/resources:  EDAC certification, Environmental Standards Council, Built Environment Network, Healthcare Design Expo & Conference, Environments for Aging Expo & Conference, Pebble in Practice Workshops, webinar series, research, toolboxes, awards. President/CEO:  Debra Levin. Learn more or donate>>>

3. Facility Guidelines Institute

FGI is dedicated to developing guidance for the planning, design, and construction of hospitals, outpatient facilities, and residential health, care, and support facilities. Membership:  No. Key programs/resources: Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals, Guidelines for Design and Construction of Outpatient Facilities, Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities, webinars and papers. CEO/Founding Board Member: Douglas Erickson. Learn more>>>

Note:  FGI doesn't have a formal donation process, but you can email Doug Erickson if you wish to contribute.

4. Health Care Without Harm

HCWH seeks to transform healthcare worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice. Membership: Organizations only. Key programs/resources:  Restorative Health Care, Health Food in Health Care, Toxic Materials, Safer Chemicals, Green Building and Energy, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Waste Management, Climate and Health. President/Founder:  Gary Cohen. Learn more or donate>>>

5. Institute for Patient Centered Design

IPCD was founded by patients and design professionals to give patients a voice in the development of healthcare spaces. Membership:  Yes. Key programs/resources: Patient Experience Simulation Labs, design competitions, Mom Friendly Network. President/Founder:  Tammy Thompson. Learn more or donate>>>

6. Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design

NIHD's purpose is to educate and inspire nurse leaders about their role in healthcare design and construction. Membership:  Yes. Key programs/resources:  webinar series, educational programs, scholarships and awards. Executive Director:  Angela Boyle. Donate to NIHD's foundation>>>

7. Society for the Advancement of Gerontological Environments

SAGE is collaboration of like-minded individuals with the common goal of improving physical environments for older adults. Membership:  Yes. Key programs/resources:  Post-Occupancy Evaluation Program, Environments for Aging Design Showcase and Renovation/Remodel Competition, David A. Green Memorial Award, webinar series. Administrative Assistant:  Lori Bridgeman. Learn more or donate>>>

Another Piece of Advice

Before you give money to any nonprofit organization, you might want to do a little investigating into how it spends its funds.  A good resource for this is Guide Star, where you can go and look at recent 990 tax forms for any nonprofit organization that operates in the U.S.

You can see how much they spend on programs, pay staff, and more. And you'll find that most of of them spend a lot of money on salaries, benefits, and other extras for staff.

That's because you can't do good work without good staff.

But key things to look for are how much they are paying their top executives. If it seems out of balance with the total revenue, then it may be cause for concern.

Donate to Other Healthcare Organizations

And if you're not feeling the love for any nonprofit organizations in the healthcare design industry, consider donating to a nonprofit hospital or residential care facility in your community.

For example, my niece Dana is the only child life specialist in the Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at the Children's Hospital University of Illinois in Chicago. She provides psychosocial support to children aged 0-21 and their families to help them cope with hospitalization through therapeutic play activities, preparation and procedural support, alternative forms of pain management, diagnosis education through play, and emotional support.

Dana's department is woefully underfunded and she's always looking for donations of toys, games, books, arts and crafts, etc. that will distract children during their hospital stay or can be given out as prizes after painful procedures, milestones, or holidays. (Learn more about her story. Or, if you want to help Dana, check out her wishlist on Amazon.)

I'm sure there are many departments like this in other nonprofit hospitals across the country.

I also recently got a letter from the senior living community that my parents reside in asking for donations. Even though people pay thousands of dollars to live there, apparently they still need money to provide extra things to enrich the lives of their residents.

One More

Another one of my favorite nonprofit organizations that has ties to the healthcare design community is Art and Creativity for Healing founded by Laurie Zagon.  Laurie, as some of you may know, led painting workshops at some of the early Healthcare Design Symposia to explore how to bring art and color into healthcare environments.

ACH has helped thousands of children and adults in Orange County, Calif. use paint to process stress, illness, or grief in hospitals, through local and national nonprofit community organizations, and at studio workshops. Its annual Healing Art Box campaign provides the gift of art to 1,200 underprivileged children suffering from illness, grief, or stress.

Give a little.  It will make you feel good.

P.S. Please do me a favor -- if you liked this post and like this blog, please share it with others by sending them the link or posting it on your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Also, don't forget to subscribe, so you'll get emails when new content is posted. Thanks!

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Sara Marberry_013-Retouched-New copy

What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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