(l-r) Angela Parker; IU Hospital Foundation President and Chief Development Officer Karin St. John; and Mona Mellinger. Photo by Martin Boling


There really is a gender difference when it comes to philanthropy says Alisa Hendrix. For women, the commitment more often extends beyond the act of giving money.

“Women like to be engaged more in their philanthropy,” says Hendrix, one of the founders of Women of Vision (WOV), a Bloomington Hospital Foundation committee. “They want more transparency. They like to get inside an organization, volunteer their time.”

With a new IU Health Bloomington Hospital in the planning stages, Hendrix, Angela Parker, Mona Mellinger, and others at the foundation formed WOV two years ago as an outreach to women in the community. “It’s a way to give them a voice in the planning,” says Hendrix, who recently stepped down from the foundation board. “What do they want to see in a new hospital?”

The mission of WOV is to “Educate, Inspire, Empower.”

“The group develops programs and forums and mobilizes women around the issues of community health and family needs,” says Parker, chair of the foundation.

A three-part forum in 2017 focused on mental health issues: Taking Care of Yourself; Taking Care of Your Family, Friends, and Colleagues; and Taking Care of Your Community.

While it is a part of the hospital foundation, WOV also does its own fundraising and is currently supporting IU Health’s Crib for Every Baby Campaign [see Bloom, December 2017/January 2018, page 56] to ensure that newborns have a safe place to sleep.

This isn’t the first time local women have organized to support a hospital. The Local Council of Women was formed in 1897, Parker notes. “They identified the need for a hospital,” she says. “It was built in 1905 as a result of women rising up.”

In 2018, the group’s goals are both social and strategic. For example, it recently held a weekend retreat in West Baden, Indiana, for women in the community. “There were about 60 women,” says Mellinger, who served on the foundation board for nine years. “We had yoga in the morning and speakers on community health in the afternoon.”

This focus on women is important, Hendrix says, because they are frequently missed in fundraising. “But they often hold the purse strings and drive family decisions around philanthropy,” she adds. “It’s important strategically for the hospital foundation to engage women.”

Because, as Parker says, “We’re the get-it-done people.”