2012 Announcements & Awards


2012 was a busy year for the Foundation. We brought on new board members and awarded almost $400,000 in grant awards.

Since 1983, St. Luke’s Foundation has invested more than $15 million in community healthcare through scholarships, grants and partnerships.

In 2011 alone, St. Luke’s Foundation donated nearly $400,000 in Nursing Scholarships and Grants including a $200,000 commitment to the Interfaith Family Health Center for expanded services. Our board and staff continue to seek out future opportunities that “Strengthen our community through vital support of health related projects and education.”

In The News — Northwest Indian College receives $25,000 grant St. Luke’s Foundation is committed to healthy eating as a way to support healthy lifestyles. A recent grant of $25,000 to the Northwest Indian College helped fund their native nutrition program as part of the newly dedicated cooperative extension building on the Kwina Campus. The $25,000 gift funded the demonstration kitchen and meeting space for their native nutrition program and other community services. “Our Cooperative Extension is a gathering place for those who work with our community outreach, wellness, financial literacy and community education services,” NWIC President Cheryl Crazy Bull said. “Most importantly, they will use the classroom and kitchen to pass on the skills and resources of our communities.” “We are very committed to investing in the health of our community and were impressed with the Native Nutrition Project at NWIC, and its focus on encouraging healthy eating that is consistent with the heritage of the Lummi People,” said Sue Sharpe, SLF Executive Director.

Lions Club Opens Free Clinic

St. Luke’s Foundation joined forces with the Bellingham Lions Club and Lighthouse Mission to create a new free eye clinic for low-income people in the Whatcom County, which required renovation at the drop-in center at the Lighthouse Mission. St. Luke’s Foundation’s donated $30,000 to purchase the new equipment needed. The Bellingham Lions Club coordinates the volunteer optometrist that makes the free eye exams possible. Lighthouse Mission Ministries give the overall staff oversight. Since the clinic opened in January, the schedule has been full. For information on the Lions Club Eye Clinic call (360) 671-1562

Interfaith Community Health Center receives $200,000 Grant

St Luke’s Foundation and the Interfaith Community Health Center, along with Whatcom Community Foundation, St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation and the Interfaith Community Health Center, have partnered to expand local healthcare services for uninsured people by launching The Caring Campaign. St. Luke’s Foundation kicked off the campaign with a $200,000 contribution. The $1.5 million campaign will support the renovation and expansion of the existing clinic to add space for 25 additional caregivers who will serve up to 4,000 additional patients as well as an in-house pharmacy. The ICHC provides health services to uninsured people with more than 60 percent of the clinic’s 14,500 patients below the poverty line. To date, more than $700,000 has been raised toward the $1.5 million goal.

Supporting Future Healthcare Professionals

Jessica Thompson, nursing student at Bellingham Technical College, received the St. Luke’s Foundation Nursing Scholarship giving her the opportunity to focus on her studies and the future of her community. Since 1993, the Lois Jean Scholarship, with the help of our generous and committed donors, has supported over 100 local nursing students with more than $300,000 in scholarships. Jessica is just one of those stories. She decided to pursue her career after seeing the way her hospitalized grandmother was treated and encouraged by one of her nurses. Jessica values working with her community to work towards a brighter future. Beyond her extensive volunteer experience, she plans on joining an aid organization after achieving experience as a R.N. Jessica currently attends Bellingham Technical College. Her scholarship allows her focus more on her studies rather than working 3 to 4 days a week.

Vital Support from Donors

Scholarship stories wouldn’t be possible without generous donors such as Teri Treat, former St. Luke’s Foundation Board Member. She chose to start, and continues to support, the Treat and Lathrop Family Nursing Scholarship. "Our family wanted to honor my Aunt, Pearl Lathrop, who served as a nurse for most of her life. She was a dedicated professional, first serving during the war and then in Seattle. The pride on her face when she talked of her long days was inspiring. I was privileged to serve as a board member of the St. Luke's Foundation for nearly ten years. In a way, this scholarship will give me an opportunity to stay connected with the work of the Foundation, work that I am most proud."

SLF works with the Laurendeau Fund

Dr. Theresea Laurendeau started the Laurendeau Foundation for Cancer Care in 1980. The fund provided more than $1 million in qualified medical expenses to 500 Whatcom County recipients. After being faced with limited resources, Laurendeau Foundation for Cancer Care transitioned their mission and goals to St. Luke’s Foundation to increase health opportunities in Whatcom County. As of August 2011, the Laurendeau Fund for Cancer Care at St. Luke’s Foundation continued the legacy of Dr. Laurendeau through partnership with Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access, and with financial support when other resources are exhausted. SLF is moving forward with the fund by challenging the community to raise $100,000 in 2012.

Supporting the Laurendeau Cancer Care Fund

Harriet Spanel, local community leader and cancer survivor, contributed significantly to the new Laurendeau Cancer Care Fund at St. Luke’s Foundation. Spanel lost her husband, Les, to cancer. She has also survived two breast cancers and a bone metastasis. Spanel felt compelled to help others going through the same difficulties she faced. Spanel is challenging the community to raise $100,000 with the help of a 2:1 match by St. Luke’s Foundation. For more information go to http://www.stlukesfoundation.org

SLF Welcomes a New Board Member

St. Luke’s Foundation welcomed Debbie Ahl, past CEO of Sterling Life Insurance and a former employee of St. Luke’s Hospital, to the Board of Directors in early February. “I was lucky to have the opportunity to help establish St. Luke’s Foundation almost 30 years ago when I worked for St. Luke’s Hospital,” Ahl said. “ I am excited to see it continue to thrive and support the healthcare goals of this community. With the foundation’s clear focus on the possibilities for the future, it is exciting to return to the board.” At the age of 18, she worked at St. Luke’s Hospital as a ward secretary in the Emergency Room. She moved up through the hospital as the Public Relations Director and a part of the administrative team. The board sees Ahl as a perfect addition as the foundation undergoes planning for the future. Debbie has nearly 30 years of experience in strategy development, business growth and corporate leadership. She served as the first Chairman for the Northwest Innovation Resource Center Board of Directors, and also serves on the Board of Trustees for Bellingham Technical College. Debbie and her husband, Bill Ziels, reside in Bellingham, WA.

Heather Flaherty