Horizons Winter 2017

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Winter 2017 M E R C Y F O U N D AT I O N


Inspiring Philanthropy. Changing Lives.

Merry Christmas and many wishes for a Happy New Year!

President’s message As we enter the holy Christmas season, with the beginning of a new year in sight, we find ourselves reflecting on what is most meaningful to us. Our families, friends and community all come to mind. As part of our Mercy Foundation family, I want to thank you for your support this past year. As you will read in this edition of Horizons, together we have started initiatives, completed projects, inspired generosity and spread hope.

Mercy Foundation is partnering with Loaves & Fishes to raise funds for a new outdoor play area to better meet the unique needs of the children at Mustard Seed School.

Reclaiming Childhood through Play A New Playground for Mustard Seed School Children living on the street or in a car with their family grow up too fast. Stripped of the luxury of a carefree childhood, they feel the weight of their parents’ daily struggles. They do not know where their next meal may come from or if they will be able to go to school tomorrow or even next month. At Loaves & Fishes in Sacramento, whole families are welcomed. On this campus, children have the opportunity to attend Mustard Seed School while their parents seek supportive services during the day. Mustard Seed School is a special place. With educational lessons, activities, toys and books, it provides the safety and structure needed by children living in precarious circumstances. Students ranging in age from 3 to 15 also get healthy meals, clean clothes, backpacks filled with school supplies and medical and dental Continued on page 3

As Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy said, “Our charity must be in our hearts and from our hearts.” We are so blessed to have friends like you keeping this intention alive, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. You help feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the poor and the sick --all with a heart full of charity. As members of our community, patients at Dignity Health hospitals and clinics, and neighbors of those served by Sisters of Mercy ministries, we are all profoundly tied to the work of Mercy Foundation. Looking forward, I am excited by all we will accomplish, the people we will help and the mercy we will spread together in the coming year. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2018. With gratitude,

President and CEO

Partners in Philanthropy


A Legacy of Love: The Opening of June’s Place The feeling of family and warmth was palpable as Ritz Naygrow cut the ribbon at June’s Place at Mercy McMahon Terrace. The special memory-care wing, dedicated in honor of Ritz’ beloved late wife June, is an initiative that was conceptualized and constructed with love.

June and Ritz were high school sweethearts and enjoyed nearly 62 years of marriage. Any place dedicated to her memory would have to be very special, and that’s exactly what June’s Place is. Bright, open and welcoming, it is easy to picture the quality of life residents will enjoy there. Each space was specially designed to feel like home, from the kitchen where residents will be able to participate in cooking activities to the art room filled with art supplies, games and puzzles. “For residents, this will be home. I consider myself a guest in their home,” explained Mustafa AliMahgoub who manages June’s Place. “The care we will offer here is about making meaningful connections. Perhaps our residents will not remember our names or the things we did together yesterday, but they will remember how we made them feel.” On November 7, everyone who made June’s Place possible gathered 2

of people in the community through healthcare, education, housing and care for the poor and elderly. It is a welcome addition to Mercy McMahon Terrace and a muchneeded asset in Sacramento.

June’s Place ribbon cutting. From left: Tara Green, Ritz Naygrow, Tom Naygrow and Sister Kathleen Horgan.

together in the new living room to honor June and the family legacy the new facility represents. Ritz, whose generosity made June’s Place possible, was joined by his son Tom and his granddaughter, Tara. Bishop Jaime Soto provided a blessing and several Sisters of Mercy were also there to mark the occasion. As a residential care facility for people suffering from memory impairment, June’s Place is a perfect expression of the mission of the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Foundation to enhance the lives

With advances in health care, people are living longer and more are suffering from memory impairment. Families faced with caring for a relative with this ailment often feel overwhelmed and stressed. As the need for special memory care residences increases, June’s Place will offer safe, comfortable housing for more than 20 members of our community. As June’s Place prepares to receive its first residents this month, final touches are being added to ensure they feel welcome in this warm and safe space. Perhaps the best feature, however, is built in. Large windows in all the common rooms look out over the playground at Sacred Heart Parish School, connecting residents to the community as they watch children running, skipping and playing basketball. Beautiful and thoughtfully built, it is truly a place worthy of June’s memory.

Ministry News


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screenings, all free of cost. Since the school was founded 25 years ago, over 4,500 students have benefited from the educational and nurturing program. Playtime is a unique opportunity for Mustard Seed students to enjoy outdoor activities without fear. It is their chance to run, climb and recapture a little of the freedom more fortunate children can easily take for granted. That is why Loaves & Fishes is partnering with Mercy Foundation to fund the construction of an all-new outdoor playground for the school. “Children experiencing homelessness usually miss out on many of the normal hallmarks of childhood,” explains Casey Knittle, Director of Mustard Seed School. “They don’t have backyards, regular neighborhood parks, or normal places to play. All kids deserve a safe area to develop gross motor skills, socialize, get energy out, and just have fun. We believe that it’s even more important for a child who experiences the difficulty of homelessness. I think having a great space to play will not just meet our students’ developmental needs, but help them know they are valued and cared for.” With new play equipment, a green grass area, outdoor classrooms, ADAcompliant restrooms, a meditation garden, and a half-court for basketball, the new playground, directly adjacent to the school, will offer a haven for students. “What I am most excited about is giving our students a space where they can use their imagination and be creative,” says Justin Wandro, Development Director for Loaves & Fishes. “Like all children, our students thrive when given the opportunity to learn and explore.” While classroom curriculum is important, so too is the opportunity for socialization, creative play and free activity that the playground will provide. It will replace two aging playground areas which require frequent maintenance to keep the equipment safe for children to play. The two current playground areas are also separated from Mustard Seed School by other buildings. The school, as a program of Loaves & Fishes, relies entirely on the generosity of our community to operate. They receive no state or federal assistance and offer all their services without cost to the families and individuals that seek help there. Mercy Foundation is proud to partner with Loaves & Fishes to raise the philanthropic funds needed to complete this important project. With your support, and the support of other generous community members like you, we hope to raise enough funds early in 2018 to begin construction by next summer. We look forward to seeing the students enjoy the new play space. For more information on how you can help, please contact Kevin Duggan at 916-851-2703


The Sisters of Mercy


Mercy Pedalers Connecting Face-to-Face and Heart-to-Heart with Sacramento’s Homeless It’s early morning as Sister Libby Fernandez (former Executive Director of Sacramento Loaves & Fishes) pedals her tricycle up K Street in Sacramento. Around her, people are rousing from stoops and alcoves, preparing to pack up their belongings and start another day. This morning, however, there is a familiar, comforting sight. From a custom-built cabinet mounted on her tricycle, Sister Libby offers each person a cup of hot coffee, a warm handshake and a genuine smile. She visits with them, listens to their stories and asks what she can do to help. They begin to open up to her, and soon, they don’t feel like strangers anymore. “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” - Matthew 25

This is the simple but powerful verse that drives Sister Libby’s new organization, Mercy Pedalers. Each day, a few of the 24 volunteer pedalers mount their bicycles and tricycles, fill their cargo bags with water, snacks 4

and hygiene products, and ride out to meet people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. The rising cost of rent and extremely limited affordable housing has resulted in a huge increase in homelessness in the Sacramento area. In the last two years, the Point-in-Time count conducted by Sacramento County has recorded an 85% increase among the homeless who are unsheltered and sleeping outdoors. Sister Libby says the need to reach out to them is great and growing, “Two years ago, we had under 1,000 homeless individuals on the streets, now we have over 2,000. The shelters are all full, but there are emergency services where we can direct people.” Mercy Pedalers is an initiative that is very close to Sister Libby’s heart. “I was on my silent retreat last year, alone at Crater Lake, and I was talking to God. I was trying to make the decision whether or not to move on from Loaves & Fishes,” she explained. “Once I knew God was calling me to do something new, I thought to myself, ‘If I could do anything in the world, being who I am, what do I really want to do?’ I love cycling and my passion is still working with those who are experiencing homelessness. God inspired me to use the Sisters of Mercy Cross. I was circling it, and it became a bicycle wheel.” In September 2017, Mercy Pedalers launched as a

Ministry News


sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, funded through generous gifts from Mercy Foundation donors. Mercy Pedalers receives some inkind donations for the food and hygiene kits it distributes and monetary contributions are used to replenish these supplies and cover storage costs. Sister Libby also has a wish list “I would love to have custom cabinets built for all the pedaler’s tricycles to hold the supplies we need each day.” With their unique approach, the pedalers use their individual skills and personalities to build connections with those they meet. This “ministry of presence” provides more than just water and hand sanitizer, it brings dignity to those who often feel invisible. Luda is one soul that Mercy Pedalers has touched. In her seventies, she is a tidy Russian-speaking woman who carries all her belongings in a small suitcase. She speaks only a little English, but is always happy to have a cup of coffee with a bit of cream when it’s offered. Although it is hard to understand her story because of the language barrier, Sister Libby says she’s hoping to slowly learn why she is homeless and how she can help her. “When I reminded her I wouldn’t be coming tomorrow because it is Saturday, she told me she would miss me. She hugged me and said, ‘You are my friend.’”

Honor a Friend or Loved One Embrace the spirit of the holiday season by making a special gift in honor or in memory of someone who has inspired you. Gifts made “in honor” offer a unique way to celebrate and recognize those dear to you with a special holiday gift that will benefit others. Gifts “in memory” provide an opportunity for you to memorialize the legacy of someone meaningful, or express sympathy to a family who has lost a loved one. One hundred percent of tribute gifts support the mission of the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Foundation, helping to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, educate the underserved and care for the sick at local Dignity Health hospitals and clinics.

Although the operation is simple, Sister Libby says she feels she’s already making meaningful connections with people she sees every day. “When you talk one-on-one with someone, you develop trust and care,” she says. “It is a relationship that goes both ways. Then you can go deeper into people’s stories and really discover how to help them.” Learn more about Mercy Pedalers and donate today www.mercypedalers.com

For more information on tribute gifts, or to make a gift by phone, call: 916.851.2700 To make a gift online using our secure donation form, go to: supportmercyfoundation. org/donate


Partners in Philanthropy


An Employee’s Gifts Honor His Sister’s Memory

In 1992, when Marcos Smith began his career with Dignity Health, he knew he had found the right place to work. “I love the mission and unity of Dignity Health, it’s a great fit for me,” he explained, “I love my work. I plan to be here until I retire.” During the past 25 years of his career, Marcos has been a loyal friend and donor to Mercy Foundation. Over the years, he has made generous donations of paid time off through our Employees Lend a Hand (ELAH) program in loving memory of his sister, Hitomi, who passed away from lupus. By designating his gifts to the area of greatest need, Marcos is transforming lives by providing

through ELAH last year, giving a cumulative total of more than $550,000 during the 2017 fiscal year. The generosity of Dignity Health employees is just another expression of the humankindness they demonstrate every day.

Mercy Foundation’s President and CEO, Kevin Duggan (left) and Board of Trustees Chair, Terry Street (right) present Marcos Smith (center) with a McAuley Society award last month.

patients at Dignity Health hospitals and clinics with the care and support they need as well as serving the community through other Mercy Foundation ministries. Marcos is one of hundreds of employees who contributed

Humble and gracious, Marcos says he is happy to honor the memory of not just his sister, but of all his beloved family members who are no longer with him. “It’s heartwarming to know my donations are helping others.” This November we were honored to welcome Marcos into our McAuley Society, members of which have made life time cumulative gifts of $25,000 or more. We are so grateful to Marcos for his remarkable commitment to philanthropy and for honoring the memory of his loved ones in such a powerful way.

A Hospital Where You Can Feel the Presence of God When Michael Matteucig was transferred to Mercy General Hospital, he thought he was facing the end of his life. A serious infection in his kidney meant he needed intensive care. It was a scary time, but he knew from the moment he arrived that he was going to be cared for with compassion and humankindness. “I know it’s a medical facility, but I can feel the presence of God there,” he said of Mercy General. “And I know I’m in good hands because Sister Clare Dalton is running the show!” His nurses and doctors took such good care of him, he made a generous gift to Mercy Foundation in their honor. Michael says he’s very loyal to Mercy General, the Mercy clinics and the Sisters of Mercy, and he travels from Napa to receive treatment here for other health concerns. He is even planning to relocate to Sacramento in early 2018 to be closer to his doctors and his church community at St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown. “My colleagues will tell you, because of my experience at Mercy General, today I am better at my job helping people with dyslexia than I was when I started 35 years ago,” says Mr. Matteucig. 6

The Legacy of Elio and May Marsalla: A Lifetime of Loyalty to Their Community Both born in the Sacramento region to Italian immigrants, Elio and May Marsalla witnessed the development of the city and its surrounding areas during their long lives. As the population grew and farms became neighborhoods, they recognized the central importance of Mercy Hospital of Folsom to the emerging community.

The incredible legacy gift of May and Elio Marsalla will continue

serving their beloved community well into future. Elio was the son of a railroad maintenance foreman in the High Sierras. He grew up in Roseville and started working at McClellan Air Force Base in 1939, the year it opened, and he spent his entire 32 year career there.

As a young woman, May worked as a bookkeeper for her family’s business, the Orsi Olive Oil Company. Later she was also an English-Italian translator for the Italian immigrant community in the Sacramento area. May and Elio married in 1942 and enjoyed 68 years of marriage before Elio passed in 2010. As part of a local family with an outstanding tradition of generosity to the ministries of Mercy Foundation, Elio and May were our steadfast friends and donors for over 30 years. In particular, they supported initiatives at Mercy Hospital of Folsom, which served the community they had grown to love. When May passed away last summer at age 104, Mercy Foundation received notice that the Marsalla’s estate plan included more than $1 million to create an endowment, enabling Mercy Hospital of Folsom to purchase new medical equipment to serve Folsom area patients for decades to come. Mercy Foundation gratefully acknowledges the enduring impact of Elio and May’s generosity during their lifetime and beyond.

Leaving a Mercy Legacy If you have included Mercy Foundation in your estate plan, please let us know so we can thank you and recognize you with membership in the Mercy Legacy Society. For more information about making a planned gift, or to request a personal gift illustration, please call Kevin Duggan at (916) 851-2703. You may also visit the planned giving section of our website at supportmercyfoundation.org.


Non Profit US Postage Paid Sacramento, CA Permit #296 3400 Data Drive Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 SupportMercyFoundation.org

Mercy Foundation Board of Trustees Officers


Terence Street Chair

Gil A. Albiani Costanzo DiPerna, MD Roxanne Elliott Sister Eileen Enright, RSM Laurie Harting Nina Iliff Thomas Johnson Garry P. Maisel Janak Mehtani, MD Mark Read John Stevenson, MD Linda Van Rees

Alan Shatzel, DO Vice Chair Brenda Washington Davis Secretary Michael T. Genovese Treasurer Sister Gabrielle Marie Jones, RSM Sisters of Mercy West Midwest President Designee Kevin B. Duggan Mercy Foundation President and CEO

Questions or comments about this newsletter? We welcome your feedback. Contact us at mercyfoundationsac@dignityhealth.org or (916) 851–2700 to share your comments or sign up for an electronic version of Horizons.

Make a difference today To learn more about the many ways you can support the programs highlighted in this newsletter, and/or other programs and projects, please call Mercy Foundation at (916) 851-2700 or visit supportmercyfoundation.org.

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