It’s only fitting that Dignity Health is the Presenting Sponsor of Mercy Housing’s 30th Anniversary Gala this summer. The two organizations have been partners for 23 of those 30 years. Dignity Health is dedicated to delivering high-quality, affordable health care services in a compassionate environment that meets each patient’s physical, mental and spiritual needs. Working together, Dignity Health and Mercy Housing improve people’s lives and the health of communities. This affinity is not surprising because they have grown from common roots and shared values, both being founded by communities of the Sisters of Mercy and sponsored by some of the same groups of Women Religious.
Beginning in 1989, Dignity Health, formerly Catholic Healthcare West, provided loan guarantees and later a line of credit for pre-development loans to support new developments. From this initial financial support,
Dignity Health’s contributions have grown to include other types of loans, grants, investments in the Mercy Loan Fund, land and building donations and services for residents. Dignity Health’s staff members provide free health screenings for Mercy Housing’s family and senior residents, including blood pressure tests, cholesterol screenings, bone density screenings and other basic tests. Dignity Health has also provided Chronic Disease Self Management education at no cost for Mercy Housing’s senior and special need populations. These programs meet a crucial need by keeping low- and very-low-income resident families and seniors as healthy and stable as possible.
Quality affordable housing improves the health of a community through many means. It offers a place to store and prepare nutritious food, get a good night’s rest, and have money available for health care expenses. According to Bernita McTernan, Executive Vice President, Sponsorship, Mission Integrity and Philanthropy at Dignity Health, “…housing is a significant contributor to positive health status.”
McTernan has served Dignity Health for 28 years and is responsible for Sponsorship, Mission Integration, Advocacy, Ethics/Justice, Ecology, Community Benefit, and Philanthropy in her current role.
After reflecting on 23 years of partnership and looking to a future that will likely include limited funding for affordable housing, McTernan stated that, “It is critical to work together to leverage our collective voice for affordable housing.”
With strong partners like Dignity Health, Mercy Housing feels confident that we can continue to meet our shared vision for vibrant, healthy communities.