Today marks the 15th anniversary of the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund, our employee-run 501(c)(3) charity. In 2005, the Hope Fund was just ramping up operations when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Despite being in its early stages of operations, colleagues rallied together to provide more than $4 million in grants to fellow colleagues in need after the storm. In the midst of a storm of a different kind – COVID-19 – we can think of no better way to observe this milestone than to remind our 280,000 colleagues that the Hope Fund continues to be here to provide assistance to colleagues in need.
As extraordinary financial hardships of the pandemic continue to mount for many, the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund provides a way for our colleagues to weather the crisis. This dedication to our greatest asset – our people – is not new.
Since the Hope Fund’s inception in 2005, more than 37,000 colleagues have received over $61 million in assistance for hardships like extended illness or injury, domestic violence, death, natural disasters and other special circumstances.
“As humans, we have a natural desire to band together and support each other in those critical moments in life,” said Joe Flynn, President of the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund. “When Hurricane Katrina hit, the ability to provide colleague-to-colleague aid through the Hope Fund was a defining moment for our organization. And now, we find ourselves in the midst of the public health crisis of our generation. If there is a colleague in need, we want to help.”
Thanks to the tens of thousands of colleagues who give every year, the Hope Fund is able to provide help and hope to our colleagues and their families when they need it most. Throughout COVID-19, we’ve been able to assist those who have demonstrated financial need related to:
- Personal illness or illness of a dependent family member
- Near-homeless and homeless events due to an unexpected event including past due rent/mortgage
- Colleagues who are unable to afford basic necessities due to loss of income
- Colleagues who continue to work while incurring additional childcare expenses related to school closures (special child care assistance was added this year)
Since March 2020, the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund has provided more than $1.8 million in COVID-19-related grants to colleagues in need.
Looking back on 15 years of hope
In 2005, one of the first grants provided by the Hope Fund went to Lillie McClain.
Hurricane Katrina nearly took away everything that mattered to Lillie, a patient care technician at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in Louisiana.
The storm toppled three large trees onto Lillie’s home, demolishing it. Her two older girls, Kayla and Jada, were covered with glass, but unhurt. Courtney, then just 16 months old, was gasping for air.
“I knew time was limited,” Lillie recalled. “I called 911, but they couldn’t come out. I was holding the baby and, with my girls, was running in the street with water up to our waist. A neighbor across the street saw us and he grabbed the baby and rushed us to the hospital.”
Little Courtney had suffered a cranial fracture. Lillie’s youngest daughter spent three days unconscious in the ICU before she finally woke up.
Lillie’s challenges seemed insurmountable – sheltering, feeding, and clothing her daughters, rebuilding her life, and getting Courtney to essential doctor appointments, all while the costs continued to climb. “It was devastating,” she said. One of her managers at the hospital gave her the phone number to call the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund.
The Hope Fund helped her cover travel expenses for Courtney’s neurologist appointments and eased her financial burden. Now 15 years later, Courtney is a 17-year-old honor roll student preparing for her senior year of high school.
Lillie is grateful for the assistance she received from her HCA Healthcare colleagues. “It’s a wonderful thing that people give generously to the Hope Fund for people in need,” she said. “The Hope Fund represents hope. It gives you determination. Sometimes you think you don’t have any answers to a problem, but the Hope Fund gives you the hope – just like the name says – things are going to work out.”
Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom.