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Library Archives - Legacy Affinity: Hallmarks of Mercy : Mercy Health Foundation

This Libguide helps to preserve the historical and cultural record of Affinity Health System, which became part of Ministry Health Care in 2012, part of Ascension Health Care in 2013.

The Foundation


Mercy Medical Foundation, changed to Mercy Health Foundation in the year 2000, was incorporated on October 1, 1971.  The purpose of the Foundation is “to receive and maintain a fund or funds of real estate or personal property or both,

To use and apply the whole or any part of the income and principal exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, and educational purposes, and more specifically to promote the public welfare through the development of health care services, to improve the quality, increase the distribution and stabilize the cost of health care services, to encourage professional education and scientific research in the administration of health care services to aid in the health education of the public with respect to health care services, either directly or by contributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations.”

Since that time, Foundation contributors have supported Mercy Medical Center building campaigns with $1.5 million for an addition in 1968 and $4.3 million in support of a new facility and community health programming in the year 2000.

Donors have provided funding for a variety of Mercy Medical Center and community-based health projects since 1971.  Projects supported by Foundation donors have included:

  • State-of-the-art equipment for Mercy’s major service areas, including surgery, intensive care, and emergency services.
  • Funding for professional certification of service area staff and continuing education grants for nursing and other employees.
  • Patient education materials and funding for volunteer training.
  • Community wellness programming, including health education, community clinic services, and child abuse prevention.
  • Subsidies for programs like Passport 55, hospice, and LifeLine.
  • Support of the Heart and Lung, Cancer, and Women and Families Centers of Excellence.



Mercy Health Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization, which identifies critical needs, raises funds, and awards grants to advance heath care and the health and well being of people in Oshkosh and the neighboring communities we serve.

To fulfill this purpose, we:

  1. Support the mission of Mercy Medical Center and engage in philanthropic fund raising to secure annual, capital (building and equipment), and endowment support.
  2. Develop annual and endowment support for community-based health programming.
  3. Lead and participate with community agency representatives to create wellness initiatives.
  4. Support hospital and community efforts to provide basic health care to underserved populations.
  5. Monitor and continually improve the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of fund raising, fund management, and the grant allocation process.

Mercy Health Foundation - Opportunities for Involvement


Mercy Health Foundation presents a menu of opportunities for consideration by donors.  In addition, we offer contributors the choice of direct giving to a personal area of interest beyond those identified by the Foundation.

Donor Advised Funds

Annual and endowment funds may be established through the Foundation.  Donors may choose to direct the interest income or principal of the fund to projects of personal preference.

Powerful Medicine Annual Fund Campaign

Year-end or year-round donations of outright gifts, stocks, and pledges are Powerful Medicine for our community.  These gifts may directed to specific areas of donor interest, or they may be unrestricted for Foundation Trustees to use where they are needed most for annual projects.  All but a small portion of these gifts directly benefit the designated program or projects.


Seven Up Mercy Classic is an opportunity for individuals and corporate giving.  Sponsors, golf participants and other donors provide funds for specific community health projects.

Leach Mercy Women’s Charity Open primarily supports women and children’s health services.  Sponsors and participants contribute to worthy local health projects.

Friends for Life join for a time of appreciation and recognition of Health Care Heroes, bringing together all Foundation donors.  Hero Awards are given for exemplary contributions in support of Mercy Medical Center and local health projects.  The awards recognize exception service to citizens of the Oshkosh-area community.

Planned/Estate Giving

Signature Society donors insure the future of high-quality health programs and services in the Oshkosh-area community.  They contribute through bequests, trusts, gift annuities, gifts of real estate or life insurance.

Tribute Giving

Whether honoring friends on a special occasion or celebrating the memory of a loved one, there is always the need to offer a lasting tribute.  Contributors may establish a tribute for any gift made through the Foundation.  Naming opportunities are available.

MHF Fundraising : Recycling Aluminum Cans

Members of Mercy’s Housekeeping Services Department teamed up to recycle cans.  They “recycled” the money they earned from the cans, by donating it back to the hospital.  Their contributions made this group a major donor to the Mercy Health Foundation.  Shown in photo are housekeeping staff members (left to right) Mary Jo Hiltz, Marcy Ziebell, Marilyn Roebke and Shirley Calkins, motivated to action by Haru Ware (far right).

MHF Programs : Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care

Mercy Health Foundation donors donned surgical gowns to tour Mercy’s Open Hearth Surgical Suite.  The group contributed $200,000 to equip the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Suite where post open heart surgery patients receive care.

MHF Programs : Hospice

In the early 80’s, our community recognized a critical need for services to help the terminally ill and their families.  The Mercy Health Foundation quickly identified hospice as a primary area in which to focus their efforts.  The Morgan-Mercy Charity Open, now known as Seven Up Mercy Classic, provided one major source of funds in the early years.  This program provides care, comfort and counseling, through volunteers, health care professionals and clergy, to nearly 150 individuals and their families each year.  Services are offered free of charge, except where skilled nursing care is required.  The program is made possible through the generosity of volunteers and donors.

MHF Programs : Curative Workshop Rehabilitation Gymnasium

“Fitness for the Physically Challenged” is a program that helps people with permanent disabilities improve their health…both physically and mentally.  Equipment for Mercy’s Rehabilitation Gym, where participants work on personalized fitness programs, was purchased with financial support from donations through the Mercy Health Foundation.  The program is offered free to participants like Larry Korinek, who is assisted by Fitness Instructor Lindy Duffey.

MHF Programs : Leach-Mercy Women's Charity Open

The first annual Leach-Mercy Women’s Charity Open was held on August 28, 1988.  The proceeds were used to purchase an infant stabilet birthing care center for the Obstetrics Unit.  Immediately after birth, infants are placed in the warming environment of the stabilet.  Subsequent Leach-Mercy contributions have been used to purchase a variety of O. B. equipment and to support programming for women and children.

Lifeline Program

The Lifeline Emergency Response System, initiated and expanded through funding from the Mercy Health Foundation, provides 24-hour assistance at the push of a button.  Lifeline makes it possible for disabled, elderly or medically fragile patients to live alone in their homes.

MHF Programs : Trauma Training

Thanks to funding provided by the Mercy Health Foundation, staff from the Emergency Department participated in a Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) and received certification.  The opportunity for nurses to participate in continuing education classes and prepare for certification enhances the quality of patient care at Mercy Medical Center.  Shown in photo are trauma nursing coordinator Dottie Ripple (left) instructing registered nurse and ED p.m. supervisor Sherri Olson, April 1992.

New Parent Program

The NewParent program, which began in 1997, is a multi-agency community collaboration bringing resources together for the well being of families.  It is offered free to all first-time parents and includes monthly home visits and parent support until the child is five years old.  The majority of funding for the NewParent program comes from the Mercy Health Foundation and Ministry Health Fund.  Ashlynn Numrich and her parents are among the 1,000 families per year who benefit from the program.

MHF Programs : Cardio-Respiratory Services

Phil Wasson, Director of Cardio-Respiratory Services, demonstrates the End-Tidal Carbon Dioxide/Oxygen Saturation Monitor purchased by the Mercy Medical Center Auxiliary in 1989.  This equipment is used to measure and monitor patient oxygen levels.  The Auxiliary is a valuable partner of the Foundation, providing funding to enhance services at Mercy and provide scholarships for students entering the health care field.  Watching the demonstration (left to right) are: Joyce Hintz, President; Mary Wolff, Membership Chair; and Bev Fretchel, President-Elect.

Mercy Health Foundation - People

Please note this is not a current listing of people involved with the Mercy Health Foundation, but serves as a historical record of what's on The Hallmarks of History.  Please check The Mercy Health Foundation website for current info.  

Mercy Health Foundation

Chairpersons, Board of Trustees

Richard Koehn                       1971-1976

Alfred (Fritz) Ganther              1976-1981

Dennis Noone                        1982-1986

Dr. Eric Wilson                       1986-1989

Sheldon Lasky                       1989-1991

Susan Vette                           1991-1994

Russell Sprung                       1994-1996

David Hursh                           1996-1998

William Wyman                       1998-2000

Judith Koeppler                       2000-2002

Dr. Loren Swanson                  2002-2003

Sylvia McDonald                     2003-2005

Marsha Hughes                       2006-2008

Executive Directors

Paulette Bufano                      1978-1987

Julie A. Hein                           1987-1989

Vicki Klein Schorse                  1990-

Emeritus Trustees

Dr. Dick Clark

Susan Vette

Judith Koeppler

Dr. Eric Wilson

David C. Leach II

William Wyman

Dennis Noone

​Dr. E. J. Zmolek

Russell Sprung

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