Riverside HealthCare is a wonderful example of the power of philanthropy.
The hospital’s story began in 1958, when a Chamber of Commerce subcommittee chaired by James G. Schneider recommended that a second hospital be built in Kankakee. The 136-bed hospital was to be funded by the community with the aid from federal grants. A fundraising campaign was brought to the community, which embraced it with continued pledges.
Through the years, benefactors have made it possible for Riverside to continue growing to meet our community’s needs for quality healthcare. Private funds have provided seed money for many new programs, including our heart and cancer programs. Philanthropic support has allowed us to expand our facilities and offer the latest in new technology. It also allows us to advance our status as a regional medical center—and all these factors combined help us to recruit the finest physicians and healthcare professionals.
Examples of how philanthropy has helped expand our services:
- Betty Burch Bridgewater Center for Radiation Therapy
- Rush-Riverside Heart Center
- Nursing Student Scholarships
Beginning with a lead gift from Jim Bridgewater in memory of his late wife, Betty, Riverside HealthCare collected over $5.75 million in grants and private donations to build the Betty Burch Bridgewater Center for Radiation Therapy and purchase equipment, funding nearly 93% of the entire cost.
The Center is part of the Rush-Riverside Cancer Institute located on Riverside’s Bourbonnais Campus offering state-of-the-art technology in a compassionate, welcoming environment. Without the help of our donors, the center would not be a reality for our community today.
In just six short years, the Rush-Riverside Heart Center has built a reputation for excellence in cardiac care. Recently named among the top five percent of all hospitals nationwide for heart surgery by HealthGrades®, Riverside HealthCare provides a level of expertise unmatched by any other hospital in Chicago’s south suburbs.
The Riverside HealthCare Foundation provided seed money to build the Center in the late 1990’s and expanded the Speicher Heart Catheterization Laboratory in 2003 following a gift from the Speicher family. Currently Riverside Foundation is raising funds to purchase a new cardiac picture archiving and communication system, sometimes called C-PACS. The C-PACS will enable cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to view diagnostic images such as X-ray angiography and CT images over the Internet from their homes or offices.
When Russell Chesrown lost his wife, Elaine, after a long illness, he wanted to do something special for individuals who cared for her. “When Elaine died, I thought she should be remembered in some way. I also wanted to help the hospital because I thought the care she received was very good,” said Mr. Chesrown.
Mr. Chesrown and his children decided to establish a nursing scholarship fund in the form of an endowment at Riverside HealthCare. The fund provides annual scholarships to an employee or future employee who is pursuing a nursing degree or advanced education in healthcare.
Since the Elaine Chesrown Scholarship Endowment was first created, fifty-three students have received scholarships with several receiving more than one semester. Ninety-percent of the recipients are still employed at Riverside and caring for our patients.
With their incredible gift, they have not only provided a wonderful tribute to Elaine who they loved dearly, but have recognized the nurses who had become so important to her.
If you would like to know how you can support future initiatives at Riverside, please contact 815-933-7799.