April 03, 2014

Excellence in Action: Why UAB Employees Support the Benevolent Fund

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The Benevolent Fund is UAB's primary vehicle for charitable giving. Created by employees to help the community, it benefits more than 120 local non-profits as well as the UAB Employee Emergency Assistance Program. Lisa Higginbotham, Benevolent Fund Program Manager, says the fund is an ideal way for employees to give back to their communities, plus it encompasses each of UAB's Core Values: Own It, Always Care, Do Right, and Work Together.

Five UAB employees explain why donating to the Benevolent Fund is so important:

Carol Craig, Chief CRNA, UAB Callahan Eye Hospital

ben-fund-craig-inside"I like that the Benevolent Fund helps support employees in need when something happens in their life that is out of their control and they need a helping hand," says Craig.

She began contributing to the Benevolent Fund as a part-time employee and has continued since becoming full-time. She says she likes the payroll deduction method because it is consistent and simple.

The fund's dedication to research and local charities also attracted Craig. It can actually make a difference in her community. "I feel that those who can should help those in need," Craig says. "It's just something I feel is my responsibility as a person."

Marquita Hardy-King, Health Risk Specialist, Viva Health

Hardy-King says giving comes naturally to her; she has been blessed, so she feels compelled to invest in others' lives. She began donating to the Benevolent Fund more than a year ago after it helped her fellow employees affected by unexpected events. "We're all a moment away from challenging times," Hardy-King says. "You never know how you can help someone."

She appreciates that employees are able to designate their money to certain charities with which they share a personal affiliation. "Those are small things to me that can make a big difference in someone's life."


Caroline Lockridge, Financial Associate, Department of Neurology

Lockridge says the Benevolent Fund has a positive impact on the greater good of her community. Her brother attends the ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) workshop, which is supported by the fund and helps give him a better quality of life.

Lockridge says that through giving, donors have the opportunity to make others aware of the groups they support, such as the ARC in her case. She chose a three-way designation with her gift so she can help multiple groups that are important to her.

 "You're a small part of a large contribution that helps the individual groups," she says.

Anthony Patterson, Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services, UAB Hospital

Patterson says donating to the Benevolent Fund is a natural decision for him because he has always given time, money, food, service, friendship, and trust. "I think it's important as a leader at UAB to be willing to do things I ask of others," he says.

Patterson says UAB supports the community in a of variety ways, not just clinical. During the January snowstorm, employees cared for patients and their families but also helped provide for faculty and others who were stranded and looking to UAB for shelter and other comforts.

"Seeing our employees happily taking care of the community, how could you not want to contribute to a fund that takes care of them?" Patterson says.

Pam White, Chief Operating Officer, The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital

For White, giving is spiritual. "In Romans Chapter 12, it says that if you have the gift of giving, mercy, or leadership you should do those things," White says. "I feel I have been blessed in many ways, so consequently I want to give back."

She says the fund provides a mechanism for her as a leader to demonstrate leadership and mercy to her employees. As a leader, she has seen several instances that the fund helped her employees in the wake of house fires, flooding, and other misfortunes.

White is able to designate her gift for causes that are close to home such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Her sister is a lymphoma survivor, and her daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 13.

"It's a convenient way for me to consciously make choices about how I give to things that mean something to me on a personal level, in a leadership role, and that also benefits UAB's research mission," White says.

Click here to learn more about the Benevolent Fund or begin donating. Remember, you have the option of designating which charity receives your donation.