Beyond the Walls

Friends of Mercy Foundation

The Catholic Health Association recognized Beyond the Walls, the joint community benefit program of Mercy Hospital Downtown, Mercy Hospital Southwest, and Memorial Hospital all located in Bakersfield, California. The 2015 Achievement Citation Award was given for the work that Beyond the Walls does in Bakersfield. The program helps the underserved people of Kern County improve and transform their lives by providing community wellness programs, insurance enrollment initiatives, homework clubs for disadvantage children, job training, and homemaker care services for elderly and disabled residents.

Debbi Hull, the regional director of the department of special needs and community outreach, who first started the program 24 years ago, credits Sister Catherine McAuley as her inspiration. Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy who dedicated her life to serving the poor, Catherine’s legacy helps drive our organization to provide services Beyond the Walls of our hospitals.

Debbie Hull and Stephanie Weber accept the Achievement Citation Award
Debbie Hull and Stephanie Weber
accept the Achievement Citation Award

Stephanie Weber, vice president of the Friends of Mercy Foundation also accepted the award with Debbie Hull. Through the philanthropic efforts of Friends of Mercy Foundation, the program has raised more than $11.4 million over the past 24 years, allowing the program to expand their outreach from serving 15,000 people each year to more than 118,000 individuals annually.

Stephanie gains her inspiration from William Howell, a community leader and devout Catholic who, in 1910, decided that the community of Bakersfield needed and deserved a private hospital. He recruited four Sisters of Mercy from Los Angeles—and with other community leaders—raised enough money to build a Catholic Hospital in Bakersfield.  Mercy Hospital and Memorial Hospital ( built in 1956) were established through philanthropic efforts by people in the community who had a desire to help mankind. Stephanie is honored to be able to continue that legacy of philanthropic support for Mercy Hospitals in Bakersfield.