Ecumen CEO Emeritus Kathryn Roberts received the Business Journal’s 2019 Career Achievement Award.
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ECUMEN LOCAL COMMUNITIES
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Donor Story: Vern and Shirley "Sunshine" Mollan, Ecumen Parmly: Point Pleasant Heights Donors
Vernon and Shirley “Sunshine” Mollan have been giving back to Ecumen Parmly LifePointes since 2007 when they made their family cabin on Green Lake a full-time home. Following their move, Shirley “Sunshine” told her husband that she wanted to volunter at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes because “all these people need smiles.” She approached the volunteer coordinator and expressed special interest in spending time with residents who don’t have very many visitors. Through her generosity and contagious sunshine-y spirit, she fit into the Parmly community immediately.
After her first day of volunteering, she arranged and modeled in a Vintage Style Show for the residents at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes. This show featured clothes from the last century until the present. She was drawn to volunteering because it allowed her to be herself. Shirley “Sunshine” and her husband Vern have been bringing sunshine to Ecumen Parmly LifePointes and the surrounding Chisago City area for years through their generous and giving hearts and volunteering. They continue to deliver Meals on Wheels to local residents because it is at the core of who they are and as Shirley “Sunshine” says, “Everyone needs a hug.”
Vern and Shirley “Sunshine” are now residents at Point Pleasant Heights, independent living at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes. Their financial gifts have always been in appreciation of the tremendous employees and staff. They recall a situation from the winter of 2015, when dedicated Ecumen Parmly LifePointes staff were continuing to work and serve residents during flu season.
Shirley “Sunshine” felt strongly that “the faithful and loving caregivers have been overloaded with [additional] responsibilities” during flu season. This moved the Mollans to make a gift in honor of Ecumen Parmly LifePointes’
staff. Shirley “Sunshine” said, “Each of us reaches out with love in our own way and after putting myself in their shoes, it was clear to see where this donation should go.”
Both Vern and Shirley “Sunshine” are touched by the gracious and hardworking staff at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes. The two add, “That’s what it is all about.” Shirley “Sunshine” and Vern’s generosity to Ecumen Parmly LifePointes is a gift to the community they have helped foster.
Donor Story: Warren and Beverly Smith, Ecumen Benevolence Fund Donors
Like so many, Warren P. Smith was initially introduced to the senior living options near him when he began looking for a new home for his mother. He did not know that in a few short years he would be looking for a place that could feel like home for his wife, Beverly, whom he fondly calls “Bev”. In June of 2016, Warren made the difficult decision to move Bev into a community that could care for her full-time.
When looking at a variety of care options for Bev, Warren was drawn to Ecumen, in part, because of Awakenings. He adds, “It’s personal, hands-on community.” He was interested in medication management and loved how Awakenings took a holistic approach to care for individuals with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Simply put, Warren said “we were impressed.” While this was an incredibly difficult decision and transition for their family, Warren recalls that after a home visit with Ecumen Pathstone Living nurse McKinzee, he knew Ecumen was the right choice for Bev.
Through Ecumen’s innovative and personalized care approach to each resident, Bev was able to remain at Ecumen Pathstone. Warren credits McKinzee for Bev’s ability to live at Pathstone and begin to call it home. Warren adds, “I can’t say enough about the staff… they are just incredible.”
Through looking at a variety of housing options for both his mother and Beverly, Warren was surprised to learn that some senior housing communities will ask seniors to leave if they run out of funds for rent. No one plans to exhaust their savings, but in senior housing individuals lose their financial security with growing frequency. Ecumen’s goal through the creation of the Benevolence Fund, is to offer financial support to future residents.
When Warren began looking for a way to show his appreciation for the exceptional care provided by Ecumen staff, he remembered the Benevolence Fund. “Unlike some places, they can remain here.”
Warren and Bev’s generosity to the Benevolence Fund is another step forward to fulfill Ecumen’s vision to create sustainable means that will help enable residents to remain at “home.”
Ecumen Partners Story: Dougherty & Company, LLC, a Financial Partner in Innovation
The long-standing partnership between Dougherty & Company LLC and Ecumen is united by a common purpose
– innovation that empowers individuals. Dougherty, a Minneapolis-based national financial services firm, has partnered with Ecumen over the last decade to provide capital financing on many of Ecumen’s communities.
Dougherty & Company, founded in 1977, specializes in financing for senior living communities and acute care hospitals, which makes the company a model partner to strengthen Ecumen’s mission. Dougherty & Company Senior Vice President Kurt Apfelbacher matches Ecumen’s mission with the tools to be successful.
The three pillars of Ecumen’s brand promise: innovate, empower and honor resonate with Dougherty & Company, whose goal is to be the most innovative firm with financial products that help their clients grow and feel empowered. These innovative approaches have led to the success of communities like Ecumen Detroit Lakes and Ecumen Seasons at Apple Valley.
One of Kurt’s favorite Ecumen projects is Abiitan Mill City, a first-of-its-kind community located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. “Organizations like Ecumen are really special because they haven’t taken the status quo and let it just keep going,” Kurt says. “It’s been an evolution. You see it every year. That’s what makes us glad to be partners.” For him, there is no greater feeling than walking into an Ecumen community after a project is done and realizing Dougherty helped make that change possible.
Being well-versed in the issues of serving a rapidly aging population, Kurt sees the value in the new programs Ecumen creates and the risks required to be a leader in senior care. “There are inherit risks in everything thing you do and in change. Ecumen has taken measured risks to make itself all the better and all the stronger, and that’s where we want to partner.”
Ecumen is grateful for the opportunity to work with partners like Dougherty & Company LLC, who truly understand senior care and the need to innovate and change the perception of aging.
Donor Story: Chuck Mckiernan, Ecumen Seasons at Maplewood
Chuck McKiernan moved into Ecumen Seasons at Maplewood with his father in 2012. They had been in search of a community where they could both live when a friend recommended Ecumen Seasons at Maplewood. Shortly after their tour, they were signing their leases and moving in to live next door to each other.
Two weeks after they moved in Chuck’s father, Wilbur, passed away. Chuck had a close relationship with Wilbur who always emphasized the importance of family and service to Chuck. These same values have shaped who Chuck is and are evident in his charitable donations to Seasons at Maplewood. Chuck is an active and caring member of the Ecumen community and considers the Seasons at Maplewood’s staff and residents part of his family.
Chuck describes the staff as consistently “going above and beyond their call of duty” and believes giving back to Seasons at Maplewood in their honor is the best way to show his appreciation of their hard work. Earlier in the year there was a carpet remodel to improve the dining room and during this time, the dining staff delivered meals free of charge to resident rooms.
He was impressed by the “extra effort the chefs, cooks and service staff displayed during the updates.” Chuck was moved by the staff’s ability and willingness to provide exceptional care despite difficult circumstances so he made a gift in their honor with an attached note to the department to show his gratitude. In return, his note was framed and put on display for all the staff to see. His charitable gifts have also funded exercise and medical equipment, which benefits both residents and staff.