Ribbon of Hope, Inc
Case for Support – Mission Growth Appeal

Purpose: As we celebrate a twenty-one-year relationship with Elkhart General Hospital and the oncology treatment facilities who are in partnership with them, Ribbon of Hope is compelled to expand our reach to cancer patients beyond the Elkhart General campus and into the greater community of Elkhart County and surrounding communities. Currently, we have approximately 100 new referrals per year in our “market” where there is at least 1100 (Elkhart County) new cancer diagnosis per year. Based on the report Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures peripheral counties account for an additional 2935-cancer diagnosis. Expanding our reach and addressing this need would require allocated space that is simply not available in our current location.

Ribbon of Hope currently employs three full time employees and with the help of approximately eighty-two trained and committed volunteers, logs 6,000 – 8,000 patient service hours each year. We know that we can meet the growth needs for staff and volunteers over time because of the mission appeal we feel from our faith-based communities to help others. All services are provided free of charge and focus on meeting the emotional, spiritual and practical needs of those we serve. The heart of our service is personal, ongoing interaction with patients throughout their cancer journey. Ribbon of Hope has been investing in the lives of cancer patients for more than twenty-one years in Elkhart County.

Ribbon of Hope seeks to stabilize the emotional trauma of cancer and has been doing so for people in our community since 1999. Understanding how patients are affected by their diagnosis is critical. Of the patients who completed a psycho-social distress screen at Elkhart General Hospital 2019, forty-six percent scored six or higher on a metric of zero to ten. Forty-five percent noted emotional stress with barriers including “uncertainty and worry related to disease/prognosis and worry about how illness affects family.” Forty-five percent noted family distress with barriers including “lack of family availability/changes in family structure, loss/lack of connection with family and /or family not helping, end of life decisions, and other family members experiencing health or financial problems.” Twenty-seven percent of patients noted spiritual distress with barriers including “end of life spiritual questions/lack of connection to spiritual communities.” Thirty-seven percent had concerns regarding support systems with barriers including “family members live away from patient and less connected to other community groups such as church, neighbors, and friends.” All that to say, patients need support as they can often feel isolated and alone during treatment.

Over the last twenty-one years, Ribbon of Hope has also addressed basic human needs as we’ve worked with patients. For the single mom going through treatment, too sick to cook for her young children, we carried in meals. For the working spouse unable to miss work due to a loss of income and possibly health insurance, we transported the patient to and from medical treatment. For the patient who speaks little English, we worked through a translator. For the family of eight saying their final goodbye to their mom, we showed them human compassion and love. We made community referrals where applicable and also enrolled them in our annual Holiday Adopt a Family program. We continued to check in with dad as he grieved the loss of his wife, provided financial support for his family, and addressed the physical and emotional needs of his children. Cancer is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t care what language you speak, the color of your skin, your family makeup, your education, your financial means nor your faith practice if you have one. To provide human compassion to anyone who walks through our doors is a calling. Everyone deserves support throughout their cancer journey.

Secondly, in order to be accessible to cancer patients throughout Elkhart County, we must secure an office centrally located in the county that would allow easy access to patients regardless of where they secure treatment. Ribbon of Hope currently serves patients in Elkhart, Osceola, Nappanee, Wakarusa, Goshen, New Paris, Millersburg, Middlebury, Shipshewana, and southern Michigan. A main office centrally located within Elkhart County would allow for greater coordination of resources and services throughout the county.

Ribbon of Hope provides ongoing training for our volunteers. Working with people who are facing probably the most difficult time in their lives, requires our volunteers to be knowledgeable, accountable, and committed. It’s challenging to do this without a convenient meeting space to hold gatherings on a continual basis.

The office space, or HUB, will consist of a small foyer for receiving visitors, a training/conference room for hosting up to twenty-five people in a classroom setting for events such as patient support and education sessions, a patient resource library, coaching and counseling services, financial navigation services, volunteer training and development, and leadership meetings and development. The HUB will also consist of four small offices to house Ribbon of Hope’s administrative leadership team including the Executive Director, Director of Development, Director of Programs, and Director of Administration. In addition to the aforementioned spaces, the HUB will also house a restroom, a small kitchenette, and a large storage room to hold patient and ministry supplies that will be available to community satellite locations.

Ribbon of Hope currently maintains a $241,000 annual operating budget. The new potential office space is located on County Road 17 in Elkhart. The 1,510 square foot retail space is ADA compliant for patient visits, offers ample parking for visitors, and will accommodate our expansion needs with room to grow. The cost for this space is approximately $40,000/year which includes the cost of rent, utilities and common area maintenance. The initial buildout cost of the space will be approximately $50,000. This cost may be lowered if we choose to complete some of the work ourselves.

Ribbon of Hope is attempting to raise $189,000 to cover the cost of office rent for the first thirty-six months as well as the cost of the buildout. We are also offering room sponsorships to purchase needed furniture and fixtures for each room. A list can be provided upon request.

We hope you consider this work worthy of your investment. This venture is a DIVINE CALLING for Ribbon of Hope, and we would be honored to have your support of this visionary project and program.

Respectfully submitted,

Loretta Salchert
Executive Director
Ribbon of Hope, Inc.
[email protected]