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With the generous support of our donors, we are impacting lives here in South Bay community every day.



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.”

Heart-Centered Excellence

Highly skilled Providence Little Company of Mary nurses are treasured for compassionate high touch care and supported through philanthropy

The qualities that make nurses the heart of health care are as important as ever. Kindness, communication skills and a personal drive to serve will always define above-and-beyond nursing. Providence Little Company of Mary nurses are legendary for providing exceptional care with compassion — from the earliest days of the ministry in 1960 to the present. And throughout that history, generous benefactors have directed their philanthropy to help advance the professional development of these caregivers and celebrate their accomplishments.

Good nurses are trained to treat the whole patient, not just the immediate injury or illness. Exceptional nurses actively seek ways to connect to patients personally and make them feel seen and heard.

“Although we’ve grown through the years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is our nurses’ compassionate approach,” says Geri Harmon,MSN, R.N., CDCES, NPD-BC, director of education professional practice. “It’s going the extra mile, the smile, the small touch, not just for patients but also for their families. And it’s how we care for each other, too.”

“It is not just our clinical expertise that makes our organization strong,” says chief nursing officer Scott Ciesielski, MS, R.N. “Our nurses excel at providing our patients with the best experience during highly impactful times. We hear many stories of how our nursing team continually finds a path to ease the way of patients and families when they are most vulnerable.”

Undisputable excellence
Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance is proud to hold its second consecutive Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care.

The focus of Magnet is on transformational leadership and structures that empower nurses to be involved in decisions. Nurses participate in determining care approaches, workflows, equipment and design that affect day-to-day nursing. This results in better patient care outcomes than national and state benchmarks and research that advances bedside care.

The ANCC weighs standards of patient care, nursing practice collaboration, patient outcomes and nurse research in selecting Magnet hospitals, representing the top 8% of hospital nurse teams nationwide in terms of quality.

“Everyone works to bring their best every single day,” says Geri. “To nurses, Magnet recognition means education and development through every career stage, which leads to greater autonomy at the bedside. To patients, it means the very best care, delivered by nurses who are supported to be the very best that they can be.”

Supporting our caregivers
Magnet designation requires nurses to meet and maintain a high standard of education and ongoing training. Many nurses choose to obtain specialty certifications in fields such as oncology, cardiovascular and orthopedics. Continuing education costs can be staggering for individual nurses who are building careers while going to school.

Nurses conduct research in their specialties and attend annual conferences to collaborate with peers from across the nation. They present research findings and learn evidence-based practices from other organizations.

According to Geri, most nurses pursuing continuing education apply for donor-funded scholarships. “Continuing nursing education, attending conferences and conducting research all come at a cost,” says Geri. “Donor support is critical to helping our nurses advance their knowledge and helping us maintain the high level of nursing education and skill our community counts on.”

One of the keystone nursing scholarship programs at the hospital is the Al and Mary Centofante Endowment, our largest source of philanthropic resources that has funded scholarships for hundreds of nurses over the years. “The nursing staff at Providence Little Company of Mary is second to none, and my family is proud to support their continuing education,” says Linda Centofante Wenglikowski. “These wonderful caregivers are there when we need them. It fills our hearts to be there for them.”

Hospital caregivers are deeply grateful to the Centofantes and our many generous donors for the ongoing support of exceptional nursing care. “We are proud of our nurses’ commitment to their profession and to caring for our patients,” says Scott. “It’s with utmost gratitude and respect that I thank our donors for their support. Achieving national recognition for our nursing care is greatly aided by the generosity of our community.”

There is care, and there is caring
Former Providence Little Company of Mary Foundation board chair and longtime board member and donor Tom Christie is passionate about supporting the work of Providence Little Company of Mary nurses. To that end, he has created an endowment to support nursing excellence.

“I’ve been affiliated with the hospital for 40 years,” says Tom. “I’m inspired to support our nurses because, having been involved with the hospital and its operations and its mission, I feel very deeply that, as a patient, you receive an extraordinary level of care. It’s the intangibles that touch you the most. That encouraged me to create the endowment and support them in their work.”

According to Tom, the nurses have a very strong commitment to providing high-touch care. “I don’t think there’s a better place to contribute your financial support than to the nursing excellence program at Providence Little Company of Mary. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Not only to impact the quality of care but the emotional support patients receive. There’s care, and there’s caring.”

Tom’s generosity is assisting the hospital in attracting and retaining the best and brightest nurses through recruiting, education and scholarships.


Supporting professional development
When Providence Little Company of Mary nurse Jenny Frisina, MSN, R.N., CMSRN, started at the hospital a decade ago as a new grad, she fell in love with the culture. According to Jenny, the hospital has a very high bar for nursing excellence. “We nurture our nurses, and from the beginning, we teach them what it means to provide outstanding patient care with compassion.”

A nurse manager, Jenny has taken part in numerous process improvement research projects, such as decreasing the length of stay for joint replacements. When she was accepted as a presenter to share her results at a national conference, Jenny was elated to learn that costs such as travel and presentation supplies could be covered by these donor funds to send her to the conference.

Fortunately for Jenny, her manager found the funds to send her to the conference. But the experience inspired her to take action. She spoke to her parents, Mike and Terry Connelly. “I wanted to help nurses go to these conferences, which are so important to us on many levels,” she says. “My parents, who’d been passionate about making their philanthropy impactful, were happy to create a scholarship fund in honor of my dad’s mother, a retired nurse, who had recently passed away.”

Mike and Terry Connelly have a profound understanding of the power of compassion and the critical role nurses play in health care. The Nurse Dottie Conference Scholarship fund serves as a testament to these beliefs. Through this fund, they are honoring not only the memory of Mike’s late mother, a dedicated nurse, but also the entire nursing community at Providence Little Company of Mary. They have observed how nurses stand at the forefront of health care, being both the backbone and the heart of the establishment.

The Connellys, like so many others, were moved by the nurses’ exceptional devotion to their patients during the pandemic. As they noted, ““As a patient, excellence is viewed as willingness to help. The nurses at Providence Little Company of Mary are always reach forward, they don’t sit and ask you to go to them for help. We are honored to support these dedicated caregivers who give so much to our community every day.”

Thanks to Jenny’s vision and her family’s generosity, the Nurse Dottie Conference Scholarship fund eases the way for nurses to attend conferences and continue their professional development journey, which helps save and change lives.


If you would like more information about how to support nursing education and training, contact Paul Millman, senior director of development, at Paul.Millman@providence.org or 310-303-5340.


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Phone: 310-303-5340
Address: 4101 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503
Email: plcmfoundation@providence.org 

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