In 1948, a group of professors' wives started what is known today as the KUMC Auxiliary. What began as a way for these women to get involved with their husbands' work has turned into a philanthropic powerhouse. Since its inception, the auxiliary has contributed more than $1.5 million to the KU campus and committed many thousands of volunteer hours. In fact, the number of hours invested by some members is the equivalent of a part-time job. Since April is National Volunteer Month, it is a good time to recognize this devoted group of volunteers!
The auxiliary's mission is to provide voluntary services and financial assistance to KU Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital for the benefit of patients, students, employees and staff. Through auxiliary funding, the hospital was able to install several sleeper chairs in rooms so patients' families could have a comfortable place to sleep, and the university was able to send staff to an important interprofessional education conference.
The auxiliary raises money by operating the Hospital Gift Shop and Sunflower Gift Shop as well as hosting their fall and spring bazaars, bake sales, and other fundraising events. All the profits are used to fund university and hospital projects. Additionally, this group is responsible for the year-round maintenance of the Auxiliary Garden, located outside the hospital cafeteria. One auxiliary member rides her bike every other day to the campus just to water the garden.
"We are committed to both institutions," said Rita Clifford, RN, Ph.D., current auxiliary president. "Last year, we were able to fund $70,000 for projects. We do this because we want to make a difference, and we believe in the institutions' mission."
To date, the auxiliary has about 100 dues-paying members. Anyone, including men, can join. If you want to be a part of this group, click here. For more information on the auxiliary, visit its website. Pictured above: Dorothy Ebner and Martha Lewis, auxiliary members at a bake sale fundraiser.