Why hospital employees are giving back

On June 1, 2015 the MLK Community Health Foundation kicked off the hospital’s first annual employee giving campaign. Rallying around the theme of “My community. My choice. My gift.,” the campaign heralds the enthusiasm, commitment, and passion of the new hospital’s employees, who are stepping forward as donors and healthcare professionals to bring high-quality, compassionate healthcare to the patients and families of South Los Angeles.

“To be part of something so meaningful, so special, so much a part of history, and most importantly to be on the opening team of a hospital that is giving back to a community in dire need, is more than an honor,” said Claudio Gamez, MBA, ORT, the manager of the Sterile Processing Department at MLKCH and a member of the employee giving leadership team. “I think all of us who work here would love to be part of even more, and the employee giving campaign will allow for that.”

Danny Lujan, IT Director of Health Operations

We all need to give from our hearts. We need to consider the big picture and know this is all for a greater cause.

Claudio Gamez

Even before the hospital opened to the public, the campaign provided a vital channel for employees to champion the hospital’s mission and establish a culture of philanthropy. To motivate giving, the MLKCH executive team established a challenge grant to match the first $10,000 in employee contributions.

Community Connections

The new fundraising effort built on the commitment already demonstrated by new employees in their choice to join the hospital’s staff, putting their own stake in the ground in South Los Angeles.

For most employees of the new hospital, that stake may not be far from home. Many of the employees aren't just working in South Los Angeles—they’re from South Los Angeles, and they’re passionate about leading it into a healthy future. They have joined the hospital team with talents, skills, education, and personal dedication to improve their community. Hospital employees have family in the community, their children attend local schools, and they themselves grew up experiencing the consequences of limited healthcare access.

Gamez is from an immigrant family. “My father sustained a severe back injury when I was three, one that nearly left him paralyzed,” he says. “My mother took my sister and me to all his appointments, where we'd do homework on the floor. I would see and feel the difference when he'd receive proper care compared to when he was treated poorly because he was an immigrant. No one should ever feel like they're getting second-rate care.”

“Working in this community for seven months now, it’s great to see how the hospital will increase access for those living nearby and will lighten the load on other facilities,” says Anita Piano, interim director, Radiology, who is also an employee giving leadership team member.

Leading from Within

In addition to Gamez and Piano, four others led the employee giving leadership team to rally support for the campaign and help achieve its goals. We are proud to introduce all six below:

Eleanor Shaw, Manager, Cardiopulmonary Services
Anita Piano, Interim Director, Radiology
Claudio Gamez, Manager, Sterile Processing Department (SPD)
Danny Lujan, IT Director of Health Operations
Franz Encisa, Director of Quality, Patient Safety, Risk and Licensure
Veronica Mones, Director of Care Management


“Employee giving is easy, convenient, and can make a significant impact on patient lives by providing funding for new services and/or equipment,” explained Eleanor Shaw. “I want to inspire others at MLKCH to give in support of our hospital and our community. Any little bit helps to further that goal and helps us build our culture of community service.”

“We all need to give from our hearts,” concluded Gamez. “We need to consider the big picture and know this is all for a greater cause.”

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