“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 Volunteering Vocation
Providence Little Company of Mary board chair has given her time, talent and treasure for three decades
After a successful marketing and research career, Providence Little Company of Mary Foundation board chair Kathie Eckert left the corporate world to focus on raising her kids. Thus began her second career and passionate vocation as a volunteer leader.
“I’ve been doing volunteer work for the last 30 years and its focus evolved over time,” she laughs. “In the early days, I was a Brownie leader and then president of the PTA, and it’s grown from there.”
Kathie, who holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, has lent her considerable talent to many causes and organizations in the ensuing years. Today, in addition to her work with Providence Little Company of Mary, she is a member and former chair of the Aquarium of the Pacific Board. She also serves on the Las Floristas Board, among others.
“Volunteering has added value to my life,” she shares. “I’ve gotten much more back from that work than I gave. I would encourage everyone to do it if they can. It’s going to make you a better person, and it’s going to make the community you live in a better place.”
Inspired and enthusiastic leadership
Kathie’s neighbors, Mike Del Vicario, M.D., and his wife, Paula, first introduced her to the Providence Little Company of Mary Foundation. Paula was looking for volunteers to help with the annual Gala, and Kathie was all in. That led to her joining the board in 2014.
“I was inspired by the commitment exhibited by many friends, including Mike and Paula, who had been involved with the Foundation for years,” she says. “Recognizing that people you admire have such passion for a cause makes it an easy decision to join them in service.”
Enthusiastic about rebuilding face-to-face camaraderie among board members after two years of Zoom meetings, Kathie is focused on formalizing the structure for bringing new trustees to the board.
“We’re working on bringing more diversity to reflect different skill sets, experiences and points of view,” she says. “I’m a big believer that more sets of eyes looking at something gives you a better end product. People’s diverse backgrounds inform different perspectives, which leads to better decisions.”
According to Kathie, it’s essential to keep Foundation board members up to date on what’s happening at the hospital. “We’re ambassadors for the hospital. As we interact with the community, we must be informed so we can make referrals, answer questions, share about advancements and discuss opportunities to meet philanthropic needs.”
Supporting the mission
The importance of access to outstanding medical care in her community drives Kathie’s commitment to her role as board chair.
“It’s really important to have an excellent hospital in our local community,” she says. “I think that aim inspires most board members. Whether giving time, talent or treasure, and it’s usually a mix of all three, I find my colleagues and I share that common goal for our community.”
A generous donor to Providence Little Company of Mary, Kathie feels a special connection to the hospital and its caregivers. “I believe in the mission,” she says. “I’ve never been exposed to a place where people are so passionate about what they do. They understand the mission and live it every day.”
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