Kay McRee on St. Dominic foundation

Kay McRee is the executive director of St. Dominic Health Services Foundation. The foundation was created to support the mission and vision of St. Dominic Health Services. It features two main ministries of education and health care through giving initiatives. McRee comes to the foundation with 25 years of experience in fundraising, sales and marketing. She previously worked as the director of development for Canopy Children’s Solutions, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare Foundation and the American Cancer Society. She recently spoke with Sun reporter Nikki Rowell about her new role and the function of the Foundation.

What made you choose to get into this field?

“You know, it’s funny you should ask that. That’s because if you had said you’re going to do fundraising for a living, I would have said, ‘I can do marketing and I can do sales, and I love meeting people, but I will never ask anyone for money.’ I don’t know that anyone intentionally gets into fundraising. There are college courses on philanthropy and that sort of thing. At one point, I was trying to figure out if I wanted to get into selling pharmaceuticals full time or do something else. So, I interviewed with Methodist at that time. They needed somebody to work in the Mississippi market and the position was fundraising. So, I guess they thought if I could sell, I could raise money. I went on to work with the American Cancer Society and did a lot of special events and things for them.”

How did that past experience translate in your new position with the foundation?

“Well, fundraising really is all relationship-based. So, really my role in any and everything I’ve tried to do is to make a difference in anything that I try to do. That’s the common thread throughout my career. I worked for a while at the state treasurer office. They told me, we need someone to come and work for us and show people how to plan and save for college. So, I had no job description. I started calling on hospitals. When I came to St. Dominic’s, I reported to the CFO, the benefit’s specialist said, ‘That’s who helped me plan and save for college.’ I’ve always had a heart for healthcare. I really try to use anything I’ve done to help me gain more knowledge.”

What are some of the fundraisers you do with the foundation?

“Right now, we are in our largest campaign ever. We are still in the private phase, but it is to raise $10 million in philanthropy towards a $40 million emergency department campaign. Many people wonder, what does that department really impact? It’s more than a building. When the emergency department was originally built many years ago, it was to serve 20,000 patients, now we serve about 60,000. So, we have added on to it as much as we could and made use of the space as best as we can, but it is not just about space, but about patient flow. If you know anything about St. Dominic’s, you know there is one entrance for when you’re coming in for an emergency or to see your physician for a checkup. You can imagine, you have a different type of urgency when you’re going in for a checkup versus if you’re having a heart attack or stroke.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts benefits many different programs, what are some of those?

“When I first started researching St. Dominic’s, I had no idea of all the things we do in the community. They always talk about all of the ministries of St. Dominic’s. They don’t really say, we provide healthcare, which was a foreign concept to me. That’s just how they phrased it. Most people don’t know that we have a community clinic downtown. It’s a free service. Since that has started, about 300,000 patients have been seen there. That’s something we raised money for and that we do for the community. Saint Catherine’s Village is really a wonderful ministry. You could be helping your neighbor that you don’t know is having financial issues or difficulty. We also assist with renovation projects out there. We also have a caravan that goes around and screens blood pressure, height, weight, hearing test, speech, really anything. They mold it to whatever the organization’s needs are. We have an employee caring fund. Those funds go to patient needs and Camp Bluebird, which is a camp for people who have either had cancer or are cancer survivors.”

How would you describe your role with St. Dominic’s foundation?

“My role is really to oversee the operations of the foundation, as well as meeting individually with people and help them accomplish what they want to with their dollars and their resources. So, we do a lot to identify people who have an interest in St. Dominic’s and really want to hear our story. Most people don’t know about the ministry, they just think we’re a hospital, and they don’t know about the community clinic and things like that. I meet with them to really just show what we’re doing. I’m really passionate about getting people to have a better knowledge of what we do here at St. Dominic’s. They can be advocates in the community.”

What is the community response like in aiding the foundation’s work?

“The foundation is relatively new. It’s only about 10 years old. Most people are very receptive. They know about St. Dominic’s since we have a very visual presence. Many have had a personal experience. So, you know, if someone has gotten great care or have had a positive experience, they have more of an interest. If someone has had an experience in the emergency department, then they see the need for it. Most people, once you get in front of them and tell your story, you get a good level of interest from the community. I want our board members and committee members, I want all of them to have a better understanding. I always want to match up where someone’s heart is or where their passion is, with something that we have. I feel like we have a wide spectrum of opportunity for people to support, but they will be a lot happier if they give a gift that’s meaningful to them.”

Source: https://northsidesun.com/front-page-slideshow-news-breaking-news/kay-mcree-st-dominic-foundation


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