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Morning Light News from 2019

Morning Light News from 2019

Explore what Morning Light was able to achieve in 2019, thanks to our partners, volunteers, sponsors, and donors!

Executive Director CEO Tom Fodor is Awarded the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award at the Prosperity Indiana Summit

Congratulations to our Executive Director, Tom Fodor, for being awarded the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award at the January 30, 2019 Prosperity Indiana Summit! He is pictured here with the Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana, Jessica Love, and Jadira Hoptry, Community and Economic Manager of Fifth Third Bank. The award also included a $2,500 contribution to Morning Light programs! We are lucky to have him as the leader of our team as we continue to serve our Indiana community! 

During his remarks Mr. Fodor said, “To call this an individual honor would be inaccurate. Here’s why: I salute our Board of Directors who were patient as I determined how best to serve our residents so they could thrive. Mike Williams of Moynahan Williams and its staff led by Site Manager Alice Wilson are top notch partners in managing Pennwood with nary a misstep in the seven years we have worked together. Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, with solid support from MaryBeth Wott, remains a strong supporter and encourages us with every positive step we take. The amazing turnaround at the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home is a testimony to Provider Relations Specialist Penny Davis, Community Involvement and Events Manager Madison Gonzalez, and, of course, Operations Manager Rachael Winbush who has brought focus, renewed dedication, and a positive direction to our outstanding Home Assistant staff: Helen, Nalisha, Meeko, Nicole, Tamika, Toni, John, Dai’ja and Daryl. Together we at Morning Light pledge to live up to the high ideals as exemplified by Mr. Carroll!” He ended with, “We will never let you down.”

Abbie Hunt Bryce Home Staff Give Back

As dangerously freezing temperatures reached the Midwest, our staff wanted to do something to protect our homeless neighbors from the cold. The staff loaded up as many extra blankets as they could fit into their vehicle and delivered them to Wheeler Mission to help keep the homeless warm this winter! We love the opportunity to give back to our community and serving in any way we can.

Staff members who carried warmth into the community included(starting at lower left): Nalisha Jordan, Dai’ja Lewis, Operations Manager Rachael Winbush, and Nicole Asaaju.

FHLBI Hosts Conference at Pennwood

Staff from Federal Home Loan Bank, lead by Mary Beth Wott, gathered for an important meeting held at Pennwood Place Apartments. FHLBI funding helped build the apartment complex in 2014 and FHBLI continues to keep the community bond strong by holding tours and meetings there.

Penny Davis Lands Top Honors

Morning Light Provider Relations Specialist Penny Davis was honored as a Healthcare Hero at the Indianapolis Business Journal annual Hero breakfast event held March 1 at the Downtown Marriott.  She accepted the honor surrounded by family and colleagues, including Board Members Brenda Schultz and William Wilson.  Penny was recognized for her work in rebuilding the functional mission of Morning Light’s Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, which was created to provide free living accommodations for hospice patients who have nowhere to live out their final days.   In her first months on the job starting in late 2016, Penny increased Home use from under 20% to above 60%. In 2018 hospice use exceeded 80% for the first time in the Home’s 14 year history.

Penny’s award was the third major honor for Morning Light and the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home in the last four months.  In November Boston University awarded the organization its inauguration Serious Illness Management Award, as Morning Light won a national competition. In January Executive Director CEO Tom Fodor received the Michael Carroll Leadership Award from Prosperity Indiana for affordable housing advocacy.  

Dai’ja Our First Graduate!

Morning Light Home Assistant Dai’ja Lewis (right, with Operations Manager Rachael Winbush) holds the official notification that she has attained her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification. Ms. Lewis was the first Morning Light employee to benefit from the organization’s new scholarship program, designed to promote the importance of training and career development, especially for Abbie Hunt Bryce Home staff. The Abbie Hunt Bryce Home is one of the few in the country that provides free living arrangements for the terminally ill who have nowhere else to stay. A local foundation provided the first $1,000 scholarship that secured the training and represented about half the cost to sponsor Dai’ja’s class time. Under the program, Dai’ja will receive a slight pay increase to reflect her new expertise.  She will also pay back some of her tuition over the next few months. However, if she remains a Morning Light employee for a specified period of time, those payments will be refunded. Morning Light Executive Director CEO Tom Fodor bevies this program will underscore the value of continuing education and also help to retain talented employees.

Morning Light has already received two other $1,000 scholarships from local donors and more will be needed. To find out how you can help, please email Tom at tfodor@morninglightinc.org

Penny Davis Retires

The Indianapolis Business Journal acknowledged Penny Davis’s current and lifetime accomplishments, including rebuilding the reputation of Morning Light’s Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, when the IBJ recognized her as one of its Health Care Heroes in March of 2019! As it turns out, Penny decided to let that accomplish cap a wildly successful two and a half year stint as Provider Relations Specialist as she retired in June.

Under her efforts use of Morning Light’s free hospice residence, the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, rose from 20-50% most months to achieving more than 80% occupancy by the end of 2018. The day she retired all 12 of the Home’s rooms were occupied! Before coming to Morning Light in 2016 Penny had retired as an Area Vice President, Business Development for Amedisys Home Health. In 2013 she published “PJs, Pearls, and Fishing Poles,” which documented life lessons and the importance of time, honoring hospice patients, families and interdisciplinary teams. 

Penny has told colleagues she will continue to write and work on a webcast or two, just for starters.

Noyes Foundation Boosts Home Food Efforts

The Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation awarded Morning Light’s Abbie Hunt Bryce Home a $5,000 grant in its latest cycle of giving. The gift supports the meal program for the terminally ill who reside there. “This is a major piece of the puzzle for us,” stated Morning Light Executive Director CEO Tom Fodor. “Our food costs have increased as use of our free hospice residence has increased. This generous gift acknowledges the value of providing three home cooked meals a day for our residents.”

Forty two Hoosiers have stayed at the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home so far in 2019. If this pace continues the Home could achieve a one year record total of people helped. The Home has served 590 people since its 2004 opening.  It remains one of only a handful of free hospice residences in the country. 

Brunch Run 5K Benefits Morning Light

On October 6th 2019 over 600 runners gathered together for a Sunday Funday race for a good cause. From the bottom of our hearts, Morning Light would like to thank each and every runner, bruncher, and volunteer who participated in this year’s Fall Brunch Run 5K! The charitable proceeds raised will help operate our Award-Winning Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, which serves terminally-ill individuals with no other place to spend their final days of life. We believe everyone deserves care and dignity at the end of life and thanks to you, we can make sure that continues to happen.

A special thanks to The Naked Monkey, WTTS 92.3, Vision Event Management, and The Rathskeller for sponsoring this event. Photos courtesy of WTTS.

A Memorial Remembrance to Remember!

It’s a Tradition! The annual Rotary Memorial Garden Memorial Remembrance, where lives lived for the past twelve months at the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home is celebrated! Everyone whose life’s journey concludes at the Home is remembered by having her/his name inscribed on a brick. This year on October 12th it was a record number of bricks-48 in all- which led to a record number of attendees, close to 80 family, friends, and supporters all saluting the Home’s tradition of free residential hospice care. Kimberly Creel’s songs set the stage for the Reverend Darren Chittick’s remarks which highlighted how each person may grieve in her/his own way but a community is needed to provide support. Among those who attended: five generations which remembered former resident Jeanne Smith (pictured).

For a complete list of those honored, click here.

Morning Light and Madison Gonzalez Receive National Honors

Morning Light has received its fourth major honor in the last 10 months at the One Cause fundraising software “Raise Conference” in Chicago. Community Involvement and Events Manager Madison Gonzalez accepted their Storyteller of The Year Award September 17th for her work in developing a four month campaign based on the life stories of Abbie Hunt Bryce Home residents. She conceived of a unique two week, three episode, on line end of year campaign which happened to occur just after a four resident profile series in the Indy Star. Two of those residents were also highlighted in a direct mailing to close to 2,000 supporters in December. The organization’s main fundraiser, the Beach Ball, also featured these stories. A few key results: television stories on Boomer TV, WISH TV and Fox 59, plus the Home being chosen by the top rated Smiley Morning Show for a special holiday visit. Morning Light then enjoyed two consecutive record setting special events, as the Beach Ball and Rolling For Hope grossed more than $80,000 for free residential hospice care!

Madison has also won a national speech competition given by Author Advantage, as she is also a self-published poetry writer. She presented “The Power of Stories” at that group’s national conference. That accomplishment will add to Morning Light’s long string of recent honors which includes: the Serious Illness Management Innovation Award given by Boston University; The Michael Carroll Housing Advocacy Award (CEO Tom Fodor) from Prosperity Indiana; and a Healthcare Hero Award (Provider Relations Specialist Penny Davis) from the IBJ. 

Helping Hospice During The Holidays!

Our central Indiana community is supporting us like never before during the 2019-2020 holiday season! You are invited to visit our Holiday Giving Catalog to participate!

F.C. Tucker Grant

On December 17th Morning Light was presented with a Grant check from the F.C. Tucker Giving Circle to refresh the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home! The Grant will be used to paint, carpet, and furnish the dining room so our residents, staff, and guests can enjoy meals together in a beautiful space. We are so grateful for our community’s support! A $5,000 check was presented by FC Tucker’s Claire Belby to : (l-r) Jill Duncan, Rachael Winbush, Tom Fodor, and Board Vice Chair Juli Hurdle.

Supporting Hospice! It’s The Law!

Attorney Carol Wyatt (left, shown with Board Vice Chair Juli Hurdle) got in the holiday spirit by spearheading a collection of sundries which included paper goods, detergent and linens. Many thanks to Dugan and Voland LLC for thinking of our residents!

Managepoint Delivers For Hospice!

Tim Lake(right, kneeling with Executive Director CEO Tom Fodor) delivered joy to the Abbie Hunt Bryce Home December 9th! For the second consecutive year Managepoint chose the Home for its holiday giving program. An estimated $1,000 worth of paper goods, canned food, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and linens were gratefully accepted by staff (l-r) Nicole, Rachael, Meeko, Dai’ja, Toni, John, Felencia and Deb. This latest collection means that our community has donated more than $20,000 worth of in kind daily living supplies and non-perishable food in 2019! Thanks so much to all involved and for Managepoint for doing its part to cap off a fabulous year of free residential hospice care!

Giving Tuesday Results Still Coming In!

Morning Light and its award winning free hospice residence, The Abbie Hunt Bryce Home, will benefit from the December 3rd Giving Tuesday promotion with RTV6 and Premier Hospice for weeks to come! On December 3rd, daily living supplies and nonperishable food were collected at key area locations.  Naked Monkey President and CEO Brenda Schultz(left, who is also Morning Light’s Board Chair), collected items at her downtown location and dropped those off to grateful Home staff the next day. Morning Light also received many calls from businesses that were inspired to start collections. So the full impact of this unique effort will not be known until the end of the year!

Samerian Foundation Grant Begins with Thankful For You Dinner

Yasmin (shown here with Home Assistant Dai’ja) celebrated the second annual Thankful For You dinner, which brings together residents, Board members, staff and donors to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Samerian Foundation’s $2,000 grant covered the cost of the feast! The grant also allows the Home to organize a special December holiday gift exchange and hold Christmas in July in mid-2020 for those who may not see another traditional holiday season. Yasmin brought everyone to tears describing her Home stay, saying that when she arrived she couldn’t even sit up straight, but now, thanks to staff and daily attention, is able to enjoy life more!

Nursing Group Donates Supplies

Morning Light Board member Holly Carter, Community East’s Director of Nursing, delivered a car load of donated supplies on Monday November 25th to kick off Giving Tuesday efforts. This year RTV6 and Premier Hospice are urging central Indiana groups to collect supplies and nonperishable food for Abbie Hunt Bryce Home residents. Many thanks to the Central Indiana Organization for Nursing Leadership which chose the Home as its charity of choice for this collection, which had a value of several hundred dollars’ worth of items!