In its ongoing efforts to transform healthcare and to be a leader of positive change in the medical industry, Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest, most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network in New Jersey, recently announced the formation of the Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation.

“Our goal is to support the network’s overall mission with a variety of philanthropic endeavors benefitting all of the communities we serve,” noted Joyce P. Hendricks, who leads the foundation as president and chief development officer. “Our focus is to help Hackensack Meridian Health provide the most excellent patient care possible, as well as educate tomorrow’s healthcare leaders and invest in innovative research that will transform the future of healthcare and support clinicians as well as patients, making sure their needs are met in the future.”

Serving as the parent organization for the network’s ten community-based hospital foundations, the purpose of this newly formed organization is not only to raise funds for the network’s local medical centers, but also to focus on network-wide priorities such as behavioral health, children’s health, the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery & Innovation, and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

“The pandemic taught us to be ready to face and prepare for any healthcare challenges that come our way,” Hendricks said. “The work of this foundation helps to make that possible.”

Hendricks is assisted in her leadership by co-chairs Keith Banks and Domenic DiPiero, and is guided by a board of trustees. The trustees consist of members from each hospital foundation board, ensuring local hospital representation as they work broadly to raise funds for Hackensack Meridian Health.

Nicole Spread

“All existing hospital foundations remain in place, raising money for the hospitals, programs, and services that mean the most to supporters in those areas,” said Hendricks. “What differentiates Hackensack Meridian Health is that our network provides many other services beyond our highly ranked hospitals, including homecare, innovative research, and the first private medical school to open in New Jersey in over 50 years.”

In addition to pulling together all fundraising for Hackensack Meridian Health and its priorities under one umbrella, the establishment of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation will deliver lower costs through the centralization of operations and office space.

“We firmly believe that the merger of our foundations in all of the markets of Hackensack Meridian Health will create a halo effect that will envelop and enhance healthcare for our communities,” foundation co-chairs Banks and DiPiero said in a joint statement. “Together with our dedicated board of trustees, we will actively seek out philanthropic opportunities that will make Hackensack Meridian Health the healthcare organization of choice for the residents of New Jersey and beyond.”

In the wake of COVID-19, the foundation is currently prioritizing behavioral health, seeking large scale funding to help create the additional programs and facilities needed to address the nation’s growing mental health crisis. Due to the shortage of trained physicians, support for the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is also a high priority. The organization is focused on completing fundraising efforts for the future Dr. Robert H. and Mary Ellen Harris Heart and Vascular Center that will make Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center one of the most advanced cardiac catheterization laboratories in the nation.

At Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a nine-story, 530,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that will include 24 cutting-edge operating rooms, a 50-bed intensive care unit, and 150 medical/surgical private patient rooms including a 50-bed orthopedic institute, serves as one example of how the network is investing in the communities it serves.

“There are a multitude of projects underway that will enable Hackensack Meridian Health to match donor interests while providing more outstanding care to the residents of New Jersey,” said Hendricks. “In the healthcare world, margins are very thin. In order to have the very best physicians, nurses, facilities, and technology, philanthropy is vital to fill in the gaps.”

Emphasizing the power of philanthropy, Hendricks reiterated the importance of donor intent.

“Philanthropic funding is the engine that drives us and the glue that holds us together,” Hendricks said of community members who offer financial support. “We like to say that innovation is in our DNA, and we hope to innovate and increase philanthropy across the network in the next several years, creating a positive impact in the lives of our patients and families. By increasing the number of our philanthropic partners and volunteers, I think we will see positive long term growth that will allow this foundation to make a significant impact on every part of the healthcare system.”

Defining the foundation’s ultimate goal as “driving better healthcare throughout New Jersey,” Hendricks said her ultimate hope is to inject transformational charitable support into the Hackensack Meridian Health network.

“I am confident that with the creation of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation, we are well poised to make a real difference for the network, and most importantly, our patients,” she said. “But if not for philanthropy, we would be much more limited in what we can do for our communities.”

Hackensack Meridian Health
Foundation hackensackmeridianhealth.org/give-now