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holiday giving

Are you looking for holiday giving ideas that support your passion for healthcare design?

I can think of six nonprofit organizations helping to improve the quality of healthcare through the design of the physical environment that would gladly take your money.

Their research, education, and advocacy efforts are stimulating new thinking and innovative ideas that are improving the health, safety, and well-being of patients, residents, family, and staff in healthcare facilities all over the world.

You can either donate to and/or support them through membership. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order:

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, The Health Design Leadership Program, and small group online events. 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 primarily in North America, CHD is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare through the design of the physical 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, webinars, research, toolboxes, and awards. President/CEO:  Debra Levin. Learn more or donate>>>

3. Facility Guidelines Institute

FGI and its dedicated volunteers develop guidelines for the planning, design, and construction of hospitals, outpatient facilities, and residential health/care/support facilities in the U.S. Membership:  No. Key programs/resources: Health Guidelines Revision Committee, research, awards, webinars, and publications. CEO/Founding Board Member: Doug Erickson. Learn more>>>

Note:  FGI doesn't have an online donation form, but you can email Doug if you wish to contribute.

4. Health Care Without Harm

A global organization, HCWH's purpose is to transform healthcare worldwide so that hospitals and health systems reduce their environmental footprint, become community anchors for sustainability, and leaders in the global movement for environmental health and justice. Membership: Organizations only. Key programs/resources (U.S. and Canada) Restorative Health Care, Health Food in Health Care, Toxic Materials, Safer Chemicals, Green Building and Energy, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Waste Management, and Climate and Health. President/Founder:  Gary Cohen. Learn more or donate>>>

5. 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:  webinars, educational programs, and publications. Executive Director:  Angela Boyle. Learn more>>>

Note: NIHD also doesn't have an online donation form, but you can email Angela if you wish to contribute.

6. 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, Renovation/Remodel Competition, David A. Green Memorial Award, and webinars. Director of Operations:  Lori Bridgeman. Learn more or donate>>>

Due Diligence

Before you give money to any nonprofit organization, you might also 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 one thing to consider is how much they are paying their top executives relative to their total revenue.

Support Your Community Healthcare Organizations

If you're not feeling the urge to donate any of the nonprofit organizations listed above, but still want to make a difference for patients, residents, families, and staff, consider donating to a nonprofit hospital or residential care provider in your community that serves low-income individuals and their families. Many have programs that are underfunded and need additional support.

As I shared the past few years, my niece Dana Thornquist 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 on a super tight budget.

So 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.

>>Find out more about Dana's story and the impact her work has had on the patients at her hospital.

>>Help Dana and the patients/families she serves by ordering something from her wishlist on Amazon. Orders need to be placed by Friday, December 10, 2021 so items can be received, wrapped, and distributed before Christmas.

(A big THANK YOU to those of you who saw my posts on LinkedIn and already donated.)

I'm sure there are many departments like Dana's across the country in other nonprofit hospitals that serve low-income individuals and their families. Other healthcare providers that could use extra support are assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and day service centers that serve low-income seniors. They have been hardest hit by the pandemic the past few years.

One More

Another worthy nonprofit organization that has ties to the healthcare design community is Art and Creativity for Healing (ACH) founded by Laurie Zagon. Laurie, as some of you may know, led painting workshops at some of the early Healthcare Design Symposium conferences 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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Leave a comment



Joseph Sprague

6 months ago

Thanks Sara for all you do for our industry!

Sara Marberry

6 months ago

Thanks, Joe. Right back at you!

Marc Schweitzer

6 months ago

Just want to mention that a lot more evaluation info is available for free without registering at charitynavigator.org
I appreciate your posts Sara.

Sara Marberry

6 months ago

Thanks, Marc. Great resource!

Bill Coble, EDAC

6 months ago

One of my favorite posts. Giving is good for everyone and it improves your own well-being.

Sara Marberry

6 months ago

Thanks, Bill! Generosity is the key to success.

Sara Marberry_013-Retouched-New copy

Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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