Giving Back to the Community

giving back to the community

Gifford’s Tom Maylin, Joe Woodin and Penny Maxfield load up Father Sixmund Nyabenda’s van with 36 boxes of outdated medical supplies to be shipped to Tanzania.

The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report.

Each year Gifford is fortunate enough to be the recipient of grants, such as Avon Breast Health Outreach Program funds, as well as donations as a nonprofit organization.

As a major local employer and business, however, Gifford is also the donor of tens of thousands of dollars each year in scholarships, grants, awards, sponsorships, volunteer hours, reduced cost conference room space, medical supplies and local spending through the Gifford Gift Certificate program.

The Gifford Gift Certificate Program alone invests more than $40,000 each year into the local economy in the month of December, giving local retailers a needed boost at year-end.

The gift certificates are Gifford’s alternative to holiday bonuses. Instead of cash, employees get gift certificates good only at a variety of locally owned businesses. In the past nine years, the program has invested about $325,000 in the local economy. It’s an investment
merchants appreciate.

“During many Christmas seasons I thought, ‘Thank goodness for that program,’” says Jeanne Ward, who owned Cover to Cover bookstore in Randolph for 16 years. “It made a huge impact and often people would come and spend more than their gift certificate, which I think was Gifford’s intention. What’s also nice is how well the money is spread throughout the communities.”

Now one of Jeanne’s daughters, Hillary Leicher, is running the second-generation
bookstore as Bud and Bella’s Bookshop. Hillary says the gift certificates help keep local  stores like hers going, especially in the slow months following the holidays.

“When you go into these lean months, it’s like a gift from Gifford. It’s like you got medicine from the doctors.”

Other medicine the hospital provides includes almost $25,000 in annual grants to community organizations through what is now called the William and Mary Markle Community Foundation. The grants go to food shelves, children’s recreation programs, schools and libraries.

Previously known as community health grants, Gifford has been offering the annual grants to community nonprofits for 10 years, amounting to about $250,000 invested back into the community.

The grants are announced at the hospital’s annual meeting in March along with an additional $1,000 Philip D. Levesque Memorial Community Award to a White River Valley organization involved in arts, health, community development, education or the
environment. The 2011 award went the Granville Volunteer Fire Department.

A $1,000 Dr. Richard J. Barrett Health Professions Scholarship is additionally awarded each year at Gifford’s Annual Meeting by the Medical Staff to an employee or an employee’s child pursuing a career in health care. The Medical Staff also awards a $1,500
scholarship to an area high school senior pursuing a health care career at graduation.

Free health talks, fairs, educational classes and support groups are regularly held at the medical center. Gifford sponsors Chandler events and the work of the March of Dimes, which shares the hospital’s mission to bring healthy, full-term babies into the world. Gifford once again supported the Vermont 100 Endurance Race with medical support
and supplies, and outdated medical supplies were sent to countries in need, like Tanzania, Honduras, Peru and Guatemala.

“ … we have received the box and all the items. I have … handed the box and all items to Rulenge Hospital ready for use,” wrote Tanzania priest Father John-Bosco Ndakimbuza upon receiving Gifford’s shipment. “They are high quality items I have been told. We are by this note expressing our sincere thanks for making this possible. I am sure many
people will be served by these items … .”

Tanzania, in Africa, is among the world’s poorest countries.

The collective efforts lead to a healthier community, and a healthier world.

And Jeanne, who still fills in occasionally behind the counter at Bud and Bella’s, suspects that is the point behind efforts like the gift certificates.

“The hospital supports the local business community because the people who work in the local business community are patients at the hospital, so it’s this mutually beneficial
relationship,” she says, adding, “A healthy downtown is a well community.”

Gifford Medical Center

Bud and Bella’s Bookshop owner Hillary Leicher has her arm around her son as she rings up a sale. Bud and Bella’s is one area business that has benefited from the Gifford Gift Certificate holiday shopping program.