When the Covid-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, Greenwich Hospital staff—just like hospitals around the country—answered the call to action to help those in need through sacrifice and hard work. Greenwich Hospital recently announced a relief fund, established with the help of The O’Malley Family Foundation, to thank and care for staff on the front lines.
“Through this gift, the O’Malley family has exemplified what true community spirit means,” says Diane Kelly, president of Greenwich Hospital.
Answering the Call
On March 14, Greenwich Hospital saw its first Covid-19 patient and quickly discovered it was at the epicenter of the pandemic—and to date, the hospital has served over 650 patients who tested positive for the life-threatening illness. The pandemic put many hospital workers under great financial stress, including loss of household income, increased childcare costs and Covid-related critical care expenses. In response, the O’Malleys reached out to Greenwich Hospital to help establish a Covid-19 Employee Disaster Relief Fund to support frontline workers having financial difficulties. The Greenwich, CT-based O’Malley Family Foundation established the donation as a matching gift program of up to $500,000 to launch the new fund.
“This gift and fund reflect a recognition and acknowledgment of the hardships our frontline employees experienced during the crisis. This, in and of itself, means so much to everyone,” says Kelly. “By making [the donation] a matching gift, the O’Malley family extended this opportunity to support our heroes to our entire community. The response has been wonderful. We are truly fortunate.”
The fund provides assistance to employees of Greenwich Hospital and other frontline employees from across Yale New Haven Health who have contributed to aiding Greenwich Hospital during the height of the pandemic in this region. Employees must apply for the assistance and the fund has already started accepting applications and started providing support.
As a former nurse herself, Mary Alice O’Malley understood personally what an incredible sacrifice hospital employees have made, and continue to make, to battle the illness on the frontlines. We talked to O’Malley about her ties to the community, faith-filled upbringing, and her family’s generous donation.
This is one of many contributions you have made to the community over the years. Can you tell us about how philanthropy has been weaved into your family tapestry?
Tom and I came from middle class families on Staten Island, NY. We worked our way through college—Tom at Manhattan College and I attended St. Vincent’s Medical Center in New York City where I earned my nursing degree. Through the life we led and from the guidance of our parents and our Catholic faith, we were taught to appreciate what we had, to remember where we came from, and to take care of others. Due to my husband’s financial success, we have been able to help people in need. We have taught our children and now they are teaching their children to help others.
How did you come to build a relationship with Greenwich Hospital? Can you tell us a bit about your history with the hospital?
We arrived as a family with three children to Riverside in 1975. Like every young family, we have made frequent visits to the emergency room. Our fourth child, Tim, was born in 1977 and 10 of our 12 grandchildren were born at the hospital. We have always been comfortable and confident in the care received with every visit.
What was the impetus behind this particular donation?
I worked as a registered nurse at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and understood how difficult it is to work under normal circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic has put all medical workers on the frontline. We as a community depend on these people who are the heart and soul of the hospital. Many of them have made great sacrifices, which has caused personal expenses and financial stress. We wanted to help these employees and our contribution seemed the right thing to do. We thank them and appreciate what they have done for our community.
What does it mean to you to make such a major impact on the Greenwich Hospital community through this donation?
We are glad to have the ability to help and hope we can encourage the community to join us in contributing to the fund to assist those in need. We have a great hospital and are happy to show our appreciation.