Philanthropy Follows Joplin Disaster

June 2, 2011

A half-million and counting. Mercy co-workers and other generous donors have contributed nearly $500,000 to assist those impacted by the deadly twister that left Joplin, Mo., and St. John’s Regional Medical Center in shambles. The funds will aid the 100 Mercy co-workers who suffered significant losses of their homes and personal belongings and be used to support other efforts in partnership with community relief agencies. 

Untouched Mercy Cross

after May 22 tornado

View more photos

Offers of support from many people, companies and organizations across the country continue to reach out to Joplin. An organization from the Carolinas wanted to provide a mobile hospital. The donation of an emergency response team and field hospital came from a California group. The University of Michigan was willing to furnish medical supplies.

The First Response Team of America, a non-profit organization recognized by CNN for its humanitarian efforts, has provided several million dollars of heavy equipment, clearing the hospital grounds and roads and restoring power to the community.

“One of our smaller generators has illuminated the St. John’s cross, an emblem still shining through the hospital’s destruction,” said Tad Agoglia, founder of the Lancaster, Penn.-based disaster response team. “If we can bring the cross and its message to people’s attention, maybe they will recall what the hospital once was and what it can and will be again.”

Corporate donors also have given generously to the Joplin cause, including (at press time) General Electric, donating CT and MR mobile units and a digital portable unit; Fuji, providing computerized radiography equipment; and Newell Rubbermaid, which delivered 5,500 hard-sided coolers to the disaster site.

Technical support has been offered by Microsoft, Berry Plastics gave 10,000 construction trash bags and PepsiCo donated beverages.

“In addition to these in-kind donations, several companies have encouraged co-workers to join their philanthropic efforts through employee campaigns and matching gift programs,” said Jason Huff, Mercy director of development for St. John’s Mercy Hospital Foundation in St. Louis.

Dell Computers and Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System are among those promoting employee giving. Provena Health of Mokena, Ill., Gallup, Foodbuy, and Kansas City- based JE Dunn Construction also have supplied substantial support.

Mercy co-workers are pitching in as well. Some have chosen to make a one-time cash contribution. Nearly $33,000 has been donated via payroll deductions. Approximately $200,000 has been raised through online giving at Monetary donations from the public also can be made through the Mercy website.

“From the first day, our community of Mercy co-workers expressed a heartfelt desire to help their fellow co-workers in the recovery effort,” said Sisters of Mercy Health System (Mercy) president and CEO Lynn Britton.  “Organized efforts are under way in every Mercy community to donate dollars and supplies and volunteer for clean up and other relief activities.”

A number of Mercy communities are contributing relief materials. St. John’s in Springfield, Mo, set up an incident command structure, responding with supplies, ambulances and staff. St. Edward Mercy in Fort Smith, Ark., has sent everything from scrubs to spaghetti in a 53-foot USA Truck trailer.

In Rogers, the Mercy Health Foundation of Northwest Arkansas transported 33,000 pounds of recovery items to Joplin. Two tractor trailers and two smaller trucks were filled in a three-day period shortly after the disaster.

“It’s very heartwarming to see the people drive up, open their car doors and their hearts for people they don’t even know,” said Clark Ellison, vice president and chief development officer for Mercy Health Foundation of Northwest Arkansas. “The best was a three-year-old boy who got out of his car seat grabbed a package of diapers and carried it to our sorting area. We live in a very blessed community full of generous individuals and corporations.”

To contribute online, please visit

Media Contacts

Sonya Kullmann
Berryville, Branson, Cassville, Lebanon, Mountain View, Rolla, Springfield, Aurora
Phone: 417-820-2426