Center for Hospice Care and Hospice Foundation held its inaugural Circle of Caring Award Dinner on November 2 at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indiana. Complete with hors d'oeuvres, dinner, beverages, music, and a live auction, this event is a celebration for the sponsors and award recipients.
Mike Wargo, chief operating officer for the Hospice Foundation, mentioned that this event has been in the works for several years.
“We’ve held our Helping Hands Award Dinner in South Bend for close to 40 years,” Wargo said. “We just wanted to do something that’s special and unique and focused on the Elkhart community because it’s such an important location for us for the work that we do.”
Wargo mentioned the process of putting this event together.
“We’ve raised over $350,000 so far for this particular event,” Wargo said. “The focus has been on obtaining sponsorships from people, which is how we’ve gotten there already. We’ve also received several individual donations and we’ll be having a live auction at tonight’s event, which will generate additional funds.”
The sponsorships come in different levels including Dinner Legends, Dinner Champions, Dinner Presenters, Dinner Benefactors, and Reception Benefactors. Due to the fact that Center for Hospice Care is a non-profit organization, it relies heavily on donations and sponsorships in order to provide quality care to its patients and their families.
“We provide care to uninsured patients, frequently at no cost,” Wargo said. “We have a generous sliding fee scale, which almost always guarantees 100% reduction in what they would otherwise owe. In addition to providing unreimbursed and discounted patient care, we also provide free bereavement services in the communities we serve.. All of that is done with money we raise at events like this.”
Kurt Janowsky, a member of the board of directors at Center for Hospice Care, is one of the dinner chairs for the Circle of Caring Award Dinner. Janowsky elaborated on the turnout of the event.
“We’ve got about 320 guests confirmed, so it’s a good turnout,” Janowsky said. “The room is full with 40 tables, and that’s a really great turnout for a first time event. It usually takes years for an event to get that kind of attendance.”
Janowsky notes that the purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness.
“Money equals services,” Janowsky said. “For a child who we want to send to a bereavement camp at no cost to them, it costs about $500. If we raise $450,000, every child who loses a parent that can or wants to go to a bereavement camp, we’ll be able to take care of them all of next year.”
Janowsky is a best friend of the award recipients, Tim Portolese and Dr. Bruce Newswanger. Newswanger and Portolese are friends and partners who have contributed to many non-profit organizations, which is why they are being honored at the event.
“Tim and Bruce asked me to help out with their dinner that they’re being awarded at, and of course I said yes,” Janowsky said.
Newswanger, an emergency room physician at Elkhart General Hospital, hopes that this event raises awareness for hospice care.
“I’m hoping that people realize how immensely important hospice care is,” Newswanger said. “I think that this event is not about us earning an award. It’s more about supporting Center for Hospice Care and promoting their vision and business in healthcare.”
Portolese expressed his gratitude toward earning this award.
“I’m humbled. I’m not very good at getting honors. That is very secondary to me,” Portolese said. “I’m just privileged that I could help lend our names and our talents to bring awareness to the organization.”
Portolese also conveyed gratitude to those who came out to the event to celebrate and support Center for Hospice Care.
“I’d like to thank everybody from Center for Hospice Care, but I really want to thank those who stepped up and put their name on the event and their generous donations,” Portolese said. “I’d also like to thank the public for listening to what hospice is and what it can bring to our community. People don’t understand hospice until they have the privilege of using them for a loved one or being a member of the Center for Hospice Care family.”
For more information about the Center for Hospice Care visit, www.cfhcare.org
For more information about the Hospice Foundation visit, www.foundationforhospice.org