Gratitude spotlight

A portrait of Kevin CroweOur work is rewarding, none more so than major gift fundraising which has the capability to change the future of health care for the better. We, at Dignity Health philanthropy, have shared the science of gratitude and the methodology of grateful patient fundraising, and demonstrated its impact on philanthropy and ourselves as individuals. But nothing ties these things together better than seeing it in action — a patient, his gratitude for his care givers, and the impact of his generosity.

A new colleague at Dignity Health and Glendale Memorial Health Foundation as its principal gift officer, Kathleen Patrick, shares the story of Dr, Stanley Pavey, a new donor to the foundation and an old friend of Glendale Memorial Hospital. 

—Kevin Crowe

Director, Grateful Patient and Family Fundraising

Dr. Stanley Pavey was recently motivated to make his first gift to Glendale Memorial Health Foundation because of his immense gratitude for the treatment and care he had received at the hospital. One simple expression of gratitude from Dr. Pavey to his doctor led him to make his first major gift in honor of his caregivers. But Dr. Pavey’s story does not exactly begin there ...

When Dr. Pavey was a young boy in New York, his father would bring him to the newspaper stand where he worked. Here, Dr. Pavey vividly remembers his dad selling little chocolates for a penny. In a personal conversation with Dr. Pavey, he mentioned that this childhood experience with his father was one of the reasons why he ultimately went on to pursue a career as a psychologist. Visiting his father’s newspaper stand was how he discovered his passion for observing others. As an adult, Dr. Pavey practiced in New York and then moved to California to start his private practice. Dr. Pavey worked at Glendale Memorial Hospital for 20 years as a peer counselor until 2008.

I first met Dr. Pavey when I joined Glendale Memorial Health Foundation late last year. Dr. Pavey’s gastrointestinal doctor, Dr. Edgar Mehdikhani, shared with me that Dr. Pavey had expressed gratitude for the care he received. After speaking one-on-one with Dr. Pavey about his gratitude, he expressed a deep desire to make a gift that would give back to the doctors and nurses who treated him during his several trips to the hospital emergency department.

Dr. Pavey told me “the emergency department nurses and doctors deserve the respect and dignity of having a nice, quiet place to take a break.” He made it very clear that he wanted to help the doctors and nurses who had helped him so many times before. He also knew that the emergency department is a stressful area of the hospital and he wanted to help secure a peaceful place for these caregivers to rest and take breaks. Through Dr. Pavey’s generous gift we were able to make this come true.

What struck me most about this 87-year-young man was his attention to detail and incredible recollection and enthusiasm about his life’s journey. When I asked him what the key to a happy and successful life was, he replied that the key is laughter. Dr. Pavey is a generous man, but before all else he is a grateful man. When the foundation brought him back to the hospital to say thank you for his first gift that would renovate the emergency department break room, he was so impressed by the quick action already being taken to improve the space that he promptly decided to make another gift to help renovate the doctors' lounge. Expressing gratitude has been part of his healing process and has allowed Dr. Pavey to say thank you to the hospital for touching his life.

Patients who are given the opportunity to appropriately express their gratitude live longer and happier lives. My job is to ensure these opportunities happen and partner with our doctors to help identify gratitude in patients. This story is only one example of how grateful patients can make a difference when they express their gratitude.

Here’s to Dr. Pavey's longevity as a grateful patient and dedicated community member!