Hackensack Meridian gala raises money for essential workers

The Edison Office of Emergency Management - in a salute to the hard work and tremendous sacrifice made by the staff and employees at JFK Medical Center - organized a show of appreciation for their fellow frontline heroes on April 10. A similar show of appreciation was held at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Center Perth Amboy.

In lieu of its annual gala, Hackensack Meridian – Meridian Health Foundation hosted a virtual event, raising more than $600,000 for the Hackensack Meridian Health Circle of Compassion program, which provides compassionate, timely and equitable financial assistance to team members affected by a disaster or personal monetary hardship.

Called the Circle of Compassion Virtual Celebration – Essential Workers, Essential Needs, the virtual event took place on Nov. 19 and featured updates from Hackensack Meridian Health leadership, moments of gratitude for frontline caregivers and special appearances by Jon Stewart and other New Jersey celebrities.


The event can be viewed at bit.ly/MHFVirtualEvent, and although there is no cost to view the program, 100 percent tax deductible gifts can still be made at HackensackMeridianHealth.org/MHFCelebration. Support at certain tiers specific to this program will also result in recognition at the Hackensack Meridian Health Reflection Garden at Roosevelt Park in Edison, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2021.


“Our team members are true heroes,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a prepared statement. “I am grateful for their sacrifices and could not be prouder of the care they provide our community, not just during the pandemic, but every day, even though they may also be facing challenges of their own. Many families these days rely on two incomes, and although Hackensack Meridian Health has been able to preserve our entire workforce, many of our team members’ partners have not been as fortunate. The Circle of Compassion program was born out of a desire to support those colleagues, many of whom are facing dire circumstances, but who still bravely come to work every day to care for others. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this important cause.”


To date, the Circle of Compassion program has provided financial assistance to more than 1,300 team members, raising more than $2 million and awarding more than $1.5 million to team members who have demonstrated emergent need. Donations from generous community members have been received, however the program was kickstarted by gifts from 100 percent of the senior leadership team at Hackensack Meridian Health.


“Our team is by far Hackensack Meridian Health’s most valuable resource, which is why it is imperative that we support them in every way possible: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially, especially now as the battle with COVID-19 rages on,” Joyce Hendricks, chief development officer, Hackensack Meridian Health, said in the statement. “That is why we are so proud to have hosted the virtual celebration to benefit the Circle of Compassion program. Every single dollar raised goes directly to helping our team, many of whom never thought they would find themselves in a position to need financial assistance.”


The virtual event also commemorated the conclusion of the six-year Giving Heals capital campaign, which has raised nearly $200 million in support of oncology initiatives, enhancing the patient experience, broadening access to research and academics and improving clinical outcomes for patients at eight Hackensack Meridian Health medical centers.


“The Giving Heals campaign, and all the donors who have supported it – whether through major gifts, remembering the organization in their wills, or simply by giving what they could, when they could – have had a tangible impact on the organization,” Joseph Stampe, president and chief development officer, Meridian Health Foundation, said in the statement. “It is through generosity and giving that we can have a profound impact, not just on the health of our communities, but also on our own wellbeing. It has been a true honor to partner with the community on this important campaign and I am thankful for the support we have received over the years. I hope that everyone who contributed to Giving Heals has felt its true meaning and experienced its benefits, knowing they have helped so many.”


To make a contribution in support of the Circle of Compassion event and cause, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/MHFCelebration. For more information, call 848-444-3275 or email [email protected].


For additional information on Hackensack Meridian Health, visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.