“A dedicated and compassionate caregiver at St. Joseph Hospital for decades, Melvin Schwartz and his wife demonstrated their friendship and support for the Hospital by establishing a legacy through a generous charitable planned gift.”
A Career in Medicine and a History of Philanthropy
Dr. Phyllis Monroe has a unique perspective on the impact of philanthropy at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro from her vantage point as a physician, donor and Community Ministry Board Member.
As an advocate for community health, practitioner of Internal medicine and supporter of the Providence Little Company of Mary Foundation, she sees the importance of philanthropy from every dimension.
Her journey to San Pedro quite literally began where it ended. Dr. Monroe grew up in Palos Verdes and graduated from Marymount High School – back when it was a high school. She attended college at Stanford University, and then at Yale where she met her husband who was on the faculty in cardiology. An opportunity for him to practice cardiology in San Pedro led to their relocation here and to Dr. Monroe’s return to her roots.
Her career began at Martin Luther King Medical Center but an opportunity to help start the Family Practice Residency at San Pedro in 1978 was a fortuitous opportunity that she wholeheartedly embraced. Dr. Monroe recalls that there was a tremendous sense of community involvement in the medical center’s success when she joined. “It was just a given that the community supported the hospital,” she recalls.
“We are the only hospital in a geographically confined space so we serve the needs of many people – and we provide a lot of uncompensated care,” Dr. Monroe says. “Whether you are a resident, a port worker or someone passing through, we are going to be your first contact for a range of illnesses and accidents.”
Dr. Monroe remembers a difficult time in the 1980s when the hospital experienced financial difficulties. The experience highlighted for her the importance of philanthropic support and a sustained community involvement. That brush with fiscal distress made it clear that the hospital’s survival is directly connected with its philanthropic success.
That realization reinforced her desire to be a more active donor and representative of the hospital’s role in supporting community health. Dr. Monroe finds that the most important conversation you can have with patients about philanthropy is the first one. “It’s important to be grateful, but it can be difficult to talk to people about it in a way that connects their gratitude with the impulse to be generous to the hospital,” she says. “We need to show patients how to be grateful.”
There is a direct link between the success of the physicians in our community and the success of the hospital. You have to have an Emergency Room, inpatient beds, and medical specialists – all the things that the hospital makes possible. “If you’re going to have outstanding service lines and programs – like a rehab center, for instance, philanthropy from grateful patients is important to being successful in that effort,” Dr. Monroe says.
“Giving back is, to me, like a duty fulfilled,” adds Dr. Monroe. “We are just doing what we can to ensure that the hospital will always be there for new members of the community.”
More Charity Stories
Together, we can provide care that transforms lives, now and for years to come.