Support from Wishard Health Services' employees to replace the hospital’s aging complex of 17 buildings that house the main Wishard campus has resulted in one of the single largest employee fundraising campaigns for a public hospital ever in the United States.

As of July 1, 2011, in just the first four months of the three year effort, the We are Wishard employee giving campaign has raised $2,183,530 toward the new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus opening in December 2013. The donations include a dollar for dollar match by an anonymous donor and come from employees of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, including Wishard Health Services, Marion County Public Health Department and Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services.

The combined gift from employees is among the largest contributions the Wishard Foundation has received for the new hospital. On June 22, 2011, Wishard announced a $40 million gift from Indianapolis’s Sidney and Lois Eskenazi. Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County will rename the new hospital and health system in their honor. The number of employees contributing to the We are Wishard campaign increased by 40 percent after the announcement of the Eskenazi gift.

"Employee giving of this magnitude speaks to the spirit of compassion, the personal commitment and pride our staff have in Wishard and the new Eskenazi Health," said Dr. Lisa E. Harris, CEO and medical director at Wishard Health Services. "We know that while the Eskenazis made their contribution to our hospital and health system, they also made their contribution in recognition of each employee who works day in and day out in support of our mission. Our family of employees felt the Eskenazis' support deeply and personally, and, in true Wishard form, responded through personal donations of their own."

"Employee support is critical for the future of the hospital and health system. A successful internal fundraising campaign is indicative of the employees' connection to the organization’s mission. We are sharing the message of our employee giving campaign’s success with outside donors and they are enthusiastically giving what they can, just as employees have," said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of Wishard Foundation.

The We are Wishard employee giving campaign officially started on February 8, 2011. While the match has ended, the We are Wishard employee giving campaign continues throughout the duration of the new hospital construction project. Philanthropy has been an important component of the plan to construct new facilities for Wishard without a tax increase since the plan’s inception.

"While we are ecstatic about the success of our employee giving campaign, we are not at all surprised," said Matthew R. Gutwein, president and CEO of Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. "Our employees are caring and generous mission-driven individuals who are invested in the future of Wishard and Eskenazi Health. Our employees are sending a strong message to our community, which is encouraging others to join our movement."

More than 1,000 employees have made contributions to the campaign. In honor of these contributions, as of July 1, 2011, 630 staff members will be represented on an Employee Giving Wall in the new Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital and 117 rooms and areas will be named by employees or teams of employees.

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: 317.880.4785
Pager: 317.310.5972