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article imageSF General Hospital Foundation honors community leaders Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Jan 30, 2011 in Business
Those heart-shaped works of art that can be seen at various spots throughout the City. They are affiliated with the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.
Since 2004, each year the SFGH Foundation has its "Heroes & Hearts" fund-raiser to assist SF General in its vital work providing needed health care to all of San Francisco.
Judy Guggenhime who serves on the Board of Directors for the SFGH Foundation, was pleased to announce two weeks ago the four recipients for the 2011 Heroes & Hearts Awards.
They are Judge Mary Morgan, Dewey Rosetti, Dr. Shannon Thyne and John Weidinger. The four will be honored at the sixth-annual Heroes & Hearts Luncheon on Thur. Feb. 10, at San Francisco’s Union Square.
"It's unusual for me to be the one in the spotlight rather than the one focused on caring for others," said Dr. Thyne by phone. She is extremely grateful, especially as she looks to achieve important program goals.
Working with Univeristy of California of SF Medical Center and others, Dr. Thyne's goal is to ensure that SF General Hospital has the best facility to serve children's medical needs in the entire City. "We strive to go above and beyond," she said. On average the clinic at SF General sees over 34,000 children per year.
Dr. Thyne sees the outreach that SF General provides as critical and on-the-front-lines of today's most vulnerable population. "when those with no insurance don't know where to turn, San Francisco General Hospital is the place to go," she said.
It is this kind of dedication and commitment that SFGH Foundation looks for when it bestows the Heroes & Hearts awards.
“Each of this year’s heroes is a community leader, said Guggenhime. “They have lead by example (in their work and efforts) through re-framing the way our justice system supports mental health,” she said.
Guggenhime was referring to SF Superior Court Judge Mary Morgan who has been instrumental in establishing programs that help the mentally ill in the judicial system. Through the Behavioral Health Court, Morgan has worked to ensure people with mental illness are treated fairly and justly, attending to their illness instead of only prosecuting them.
Referring to the work of Rosetti and then of Weidinger, “they have changed the conversation about learning disabilities by improving the quality of life of children in need and by instilling the value of education in our youth,” she said.
Rosetti as an advocate founded the Parents Education Network after struggling with her children's special education needs. The network provides information and support, especially to parents of children with learning disabilities.
Over the past seven years Parents Education Network has become the SF Bay Area's leading resource regarding learning disabilities and research.
From his 28-year career in law enforcement, Weidinger found that many people that become entangled in the jail and probation system had little or no education. His efforts and dedication to promote the value of a good education through the San Francisco Education Fund have made a positive impact upon the lives of the less fortunate.
When Digital Journal News met with Guggenhime some time ago, she was very persistent that word got out about the work that SF General does for everyone.
Even as SF General Hospital undergoes upgrading, retrofitting, rebuilding, expanding, supported by the voters of San Francisco, Guggenhime still remains steadfast in her enthusiasm and dedication to SF General Hospital and the SFGH Foundation. The work is always on-going.
Guggenhime and those at the SFGH Foundation reiterate it is important for people to realize that SF General is not just another county hospital it is San Francisco's hospital.
It is there to serve everyone, whether insured or not, documented or undocumented, regardless of a person’s background or circumstances. And, SF General's outreach includes parts of Marin and San Mateo Counties as well as the City, as it has a leading world-class trauma center.
This is why the fund-raising efforts of SFGH Foundation and others are so important. "Our foundation exists to support SF General," said Stephanie Bray who now serves as Executive Director of SFGH Foundation.
"Heroes & Hearts" is our major fund-raising event and funds our Hearts Grants Program,” said Bray as she talked with Digital Journal by phone.
“We always get more requests for needed funding than we can fulfill," Bray said. "The SFGH Foundation also writes grants for the hospital often serving as a fiscal agent and as a resource for the hospital when it is not able to get funding from Federal, state or city government sources," she said.
SFGH Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising private funds to support patient care and needs at the hospital and its vitally important Trauma Center.
Since its founding in 1994, the SFGH Foundation has raised more than $50 million in support of Hospital programs.
On average SFGH Foundation gets 40 to 50 applications a year for the Hearts Grants Program, one of the ways that the Foundation supports the Hospital. "The competition can be tight," Bray said.
"This year we got about 53 applications from various departments of the hospital asking for funding," said Bray. "This year we were able to meet almost all of the requests," she said. "Yet, often we must decline applicants," she said.
Usually, the SFGH Foundation raises funds of about $8 to $10 million per year. Yet with the on-set of the economic recession that amount has varied.
Bray explained the process. "We don't make these decisions for funding in a vacuum or with little research." "The SFGH Foundation has a committee that reviews each application request thoroughly," said Bray.
"In our audits of the requests we strive to have a balanced and objective review that includes a lot of guidance and discernment from SF General Hospital along the way," she said.
"Many of the programs and outreach efforts we have funded over the years have been ground-breaking, used as models at other hospitals nationwide and around the world," she said.
"The criteria are very basic in our review," she said. The foundation asks "will the project have the most benefit to the most patients?" "What about the costs?" "Will the cost be sustainable if a program, equipment or technique is implemented?"
If a request is not able to be funded, SFGH Foundation in its referrals will help find other sources, such as other foundations or grant money. "The ratio is often for every one grant proposal the Foundation submits, we have to find at least four potential sources for funding because the competition is so tight," Bray said.
"We recommend those we decline to others that might be able to match their needs," she said. Yet, every effort is made to review and consider each request thoroughly. “And yes, we do see some applications come back to us because other funding sources they have approached denied their requests," said Bray.
"Our foundation will often ask that requests be combined," said Bray. "For example let's say two departments within our hospital are essentially asking for the same thing; we will point that out and urge the two or three departments to collaborate and merge together," Bray said.
"We don't want to duplicate by giving out valuable funds to something that is already being proposed by another department seeking the same result," she said.
"When we grant applicants their requests, we expect results, holding them accountable," she said. When the public gives, they want to know where the money is going."
"We track where the money goes and how it is spent," she said. "We understand that fund raising is always a challenge and in this recession the challenge is much greater." "Yet we are always grateful to donors no matter how much or how frequently money is given."
The SFGH Foundation facilitates a public-private partnership and it is one that SFGH Foundation takes very seriously and with utmost care.
"The SFGH Foundation’s pool of funds for Heroes & Hearts grants range is from about $300,000 to $500,000 or more, which is modest when compared to the needs," said Bray.
"Typically, we have application requests of over $1.5 million and this is why we have to turn applicants away," she said. "And, that is really tough, because some of the programs and project ideas are really outstanding, yet we don't have enough money," said Bray.
"People can donate at any time of the year,” she said. “The Hearts Grants Program and our fund-raising efforts are special to us,” said Bray.
“It is gratifying that our SFGH Foundation is able to give to the hospital through that program," said Bray.
"The community’s support really helps to make the difference in patient care in immeasurable ways," Bray said.
The "Heroes & Hearts Luncheon" is an outgrowth of 2004's Hearts in San Francisco city-wide art installation and fund-raiser project.
In addition to spotlighting exceptional community heroes at the February 10 luncheon, 14 new heart artworks will be displayed and six "table top" hearts will be auctioned with proceeds benefiting San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.
For more information about the Heroes & Hearts Luncheon and to purchase tickets visit Heroes & Hearts or call 415-206-4478.
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