Community Foundation launches new campaign in support of senior care workers

By Becky Fitzgerald on March 23, 2021

Residents and others who follow Meadowlark on Facebook may have seen the image above, and at least one resident approached Becky Fitzgerald, Development Director, with questions about this effort. Here’s a recap of that conversation and a bit more information.

Has Meadowlark launched a new fundraising campaign? No, but thank you! While Meadowlark Foundation appreciates an effort to recognize senior care employees in Manhattan, no one currently associated with Meadowlark proposed this Appreciation Fund.

Is this campaign a scam? No. Greater Manhattan Community Foundation is promoting this campaign, collecting and recording donations, and sending gift receipts. Meadowlark shared one of GMCF’s Facebook posts on its Facebook page.

Vern Henricks, GMCF’s president and CEO, offered the following information to local skilled nursing communities:

Senior care workers throughout the Manhattan area have been working tirelessly to ensure that our assisted living facilities are as safe as can possibly be. Their perseverance and hard work has not gone unnoticed. Thanks to a generous challenge by Mary Vanier and Ward & Brenda Morgan, GMCF was able to start the Senior Care Hero Appreciation Fund. Gifts made to this fund will be granted out to local assisted living facilities, such as Ascension Living Via Christi Village, Meadowlark, and Stoneybrook Assisted Living to an estimated 540 employees.

The funds will then be used to purchase items in support of the wellbeing of all senior care workers. These items may include food, snacks, gifts cards, etc., throughout the next few months to show each of these employees just how much their continued work means to us. Gifts will be matched at 100% if made before March 31 thanks to Mary Vanier and Ward & Brenda Morgan.

The idea for the fund came from a five-member group of local Manhattan business women and men, two of which previously worked at Meadowlark. Ashley Urban, who previously was one of Meadowlark’s Household Coordinators, contacted Annie Peace, Health Services Director, asking her what tokens of appreciation would be meaningful to skilled care employees.

Urban, a co-founder, principal, and independent agent with The Alms Group Insurance, said there has been much discussion about and praise for the work of doctors, nurses, and teachers during the pandemic, but she believes the compassionate efforts of persons providing skilled nursing care have been largely overlooked.

“People haven’t understood what the staff has gone through during this last year,” Urban said, referring to long hours spent in personal protective equipment and maintaining residents’ physical and mental health despite the stress and isolation of virus protocols. “Their work is hard on an easy day. Our hope is that the community will recognize their work and support this project.”

Urban and others connected to the project see the Appreciation Fund as a way to say thank you to selfless senior care heroes, while also supporting local businesses. Contributions are expected to be used, in part, to purchase gift cards from restaurants, which may have struggled during COVID-19 restrictions.

Interested persons may donate by visiting the GMCF website at