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Highlights from St. Luke’s and our community partners to improve health.

COVID-19 spurs record generosity among donors supporting St. Luke’s patients

The COVID-19 Response Fund helped get rapid testing equipment, including the one seen here in Wood River.
By Dave Southorn, News and Community
December 30, 2020

In 2020, St. Luke’s saw just how giving the community is.

People of all ages dug deep to support their neighbors; a record $15,021,800 was raised in fiscal year 2020 for patient programs and needs by the five foundations across the health system, an increase of $1.72 million over the previous year.

Part of what made this year so different, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic. Early on, each foundation established a COVID-19 Response Fund to strengthen the frontline, help patients and obtain equipment key in fighting the virus.

Nearly 2,000 benefactors have given more than $1.8 million thus far to the response, approximately half of them first-time donors.

Among them: Jack Margolin, who turned 13 in late November, had his attention on the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation.

Jack Margolin

For the past five years, Jack’s allowance has been split three equal ways – to savings, to spend how he wishes and to a cause of his choice.

He has previously supported theater in Hailey, a local independent book store, The Senior Connection and Doctors Without Borders.

This year, the choice was easy.

“He said, ‘I really want to help the frontline people,’” said Jack’s mom, Deanna Harned. “He was in the hospital in early March and he saw how people did their jobs, how helpful they were.”

The Wood River Valley was hit hard early on by COVID-19, and it made quite an impact on the then-12-year-old. Signs of support were up throughout Hailey and Ketchum and it was frequently discussed at The Sage School where he is a student. As time went on, his stepmom, his stepbrother and stepsister all had the virus. A family friend died from it.

“It’s in our consciousness,” said Harned, who matched Jack’s donation to the fund.

Since the COVID-19 Response Fund was established in March, donors have, among other things, made it possible to:

  • Increase virus testing capabilities through the purchase of new equipment.
  • Purchase infection-fighting equipment for use with pens, keys, phones and other small, high-touch items often used by staff.
  • Expand access and services for patients via telehealth, home visits and remote patient monitoring.
  • Secure ultra-low temperature freezers needed to store Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“COVID amplified how crucial philanthropy is,” said Jeff Cilek, St. Luke’s Health Foundation executive director.

“Our ability to provide exceptional care and respond to emergent needs has always been, and will always be, fueled by the compassionate generosity of individual donors.”

Boise's King Mechanical donated $50,000 to the St. Luke's Health Foundation in August.

And even as COVID-19 remains in the forefront, other patient needs do not stop. Physicians, nurses and the rest of the St. Luke’s team continue to balance the care of cancer patients, young pediatric patients, injuries and the whole host of injuries and illnesses the hospitals, clinics and health system see in more routine times.

Which is why even pitching in a little bit of allowance can make a big difference.

“I’m sure like most kids, Jack would want to keep as much as possible,” Harned said, “but when he decided to give to St. Luke’s, it really made him feel good.”

About The Author

Dave Southorn works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.