Cathi Hodgins’ first experience with Christiana Care Health System was more than a decade ago, when her mother received treatment for ovarian cancer. Hodgins, impressed with the care and compassion given to her and her mother, has been involved with the health system ever since.
In 2002 Hodgins became a trustee of Christiana Care. She has also served on the board and is a regular donor to the health system. This year, Hodgins joined the 1888 Society, a visionary group of donors who have included Christiana Care in their estate plans.
“When I met with my estate planner, he encouraged me to include a place that is meaningful to me in my giving plans,” said Hodgins. “As we reviewed my portfolio, I decided to make a planned gift to Christiana Care. The health system is like a family to me, and I especially wanted to support its excellent nursing staff.”
Owner and principal designer of Kitchens By Design, an award-winning interior design firm in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Hodgins met with Amy Bielicki, director of major gifts at Christiana Care, to discuss her specific interests and opportunities to support health care in the community. By joining the 1888 Society, Hodgins makes a powerful statement about her commitment to Christiana Care’s mission.
Her generous commitment will support nursing education. Christiana Care offers tuition support and professional development opportunities to nursing staff, and nursing residencies and externships to student nurses.
Research demonstrates that care provided by nurses with a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) contributes to better outcomes for patients. Currently, 67 percent of the more than 2,500 nurses at Christiana Care have a BSN degree or higher, above the national average. That number is expected to grow as any newly hired nurses without a BSN are now committing to obtain their degree within three years, said Jennifer Painter, MSN, APRN, CNS, RN-BC, OCN, AOCNS, director for Nursing Professional Development and Education.
“Christiana Care’s commitment to nursing education reflects our standards as a Magnet organization,” said Painter. Christiana Care has been twice designated as a Magnet organization for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
“I went back to college after my first career and worked full-time while earning a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the University of Delaware,” said Hodgins. “So I know firsthand how hard it is to work and study. I’ve been running my own business for 20 years and am fortunate that I can help others aiming to better themselves.
“Making a planned gift assures me that Christiana Care will continue its excellent service after I’m gone. I know a planned gift will support the health system into the future.”
The 1888 Society continues a philanthropic tradition begun more than a century ago. In 1888, the first patient was admitted to Homeopathic Hospital, Christiana Care’s forerunner. Responding to requests from the Hospital’s Lady Managers, volunteers who helped raise funds to secure the hospital’s future, philanthropist J. Taylor Gause made a gift to purchase a building in Wilmington. In doing so, he laid the foundation for what is today the area’s largest, most progressive health system.
“The 1888 Society is part of the history and future of Christiana Care,” explained Heide Rowan, chair of the 1888 Society. “When donors make a planned gift with this outstanding health care leader, we are making a difference in the lives and health of our own families, friends, neighbors and generations to come.”
To honor the 1888 Society, Christiana Care hosts an annual luncheon that acknowledges members, focuses on an urgent health care need and explores how the health system is addressing it. Held in May at Wilmington’s University and Whist Club, this year’s event featured James M. Ellison, M.D., MPH, The Swank Foundation Endowed Chair in Memory Care and Geriatrics at Christiana Care Health System. Dr. Ellison spoke about new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of memory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, which pervade the U.S. population and affect people around the world. As the leader of the health system’s Swank Memory Care Center — Delaware’s first and only comprehensive outpatient program for patients with memory disorders and their families — Dr. Ellison shared his plans to build the center’s research program and expand its patient and caregiver services.
“The event was phenomenal,” Hodgins said of the 1888 Society luncheon. “Hearing about the wonderful work Dr. Ellison and his team are doing for patients and families dealing with memory disorders was enlightening. And it drove home the point that, whether it is cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or another illness, Christiana Care approaches critical health care issues with passion and determination.”
For more information on the 1888 Society, contact the Development Office at 302-327-3305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.