Arts & Science Council, Young Donor Society
The members of this group focus on fostering appreciation, participation and support for the arts, science, history and heritage throughout Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Young Visionaries
Members are invited to attend innovative programs and participate in community outreach projects.
Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, Young Ambassadors
This program recognizes youths who make a significant impact on health care in our community through fundraising efforts.
Carolinas Medical Center, Teen Volunteer Program
The program engages young people who seek to serve the patients, families and staffmembers of Carolinas Medical Center.
Charlotte Chamber, Young Professionals
Young professionals connect through volunteer opportunities within the Chamber and the broader community.
Charlotte Junior Chamber
Young professionals build foundational characteristics on leadership, community service and individual development.
This social group of young professionals in their 20s and 30s partners with nonprofits and local churches to help “the marginalized and oppressed” through Serve Day Events.
Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Pulse
Members host special events before KnightSounds and Pops in the Park concerts, as well as the Rush Hour Recital Series, to encourage young-professional involvement with CSO.
Council for Children’s Rights, Young Ambassadors Group
This group of young people holds fundraising events, hosts networking opportunities and volunteers for activities in support of the right of every child in the Charlotte community to be safe, educated and healthy.
Foundation For The Carolinas, Teen Impact Fund
Foundation For The Carolinas teaches young people leadership skills for philanthropic and civic engagement, then provides ways for youths to take action on the issues that are important to them.
Guys With Ties
Members of this nonprofit plan and host fun and exciting events to raise money and awareness for local charities.
Habitat for Humanity, Habitat Young Professionals
Members lend a helping hand with the construction of affordable housing for low-income families, and offer networking opportunities.
Hands On Charlotte, VolunTeens
Members bring awareness to community issues and highlight opportunities to grow leaders in the community.
(704) 333-7471 ext. 106
The Humane Society of Charlotte, Young Affiliated Professionals
Members of this group care about the health and welfare of animals and seek ways to support the Humane Society of Charlotte.
Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Young Adult Division
This group offers young Jewish singles, couples and new area residents (ages 21 to 45 years) many ways to get involved through a broad range of social, educational and philanthropic opportunities.
These young professionals want to better their community through volunteerism and community service.
The Mint Museum, Young Affliates of The Mint
This diverse group of young professionals promotes and supports The Mint Museum through social, educational, leadership, and fundraising activities and events.
Opera Carolina, Bravo!
Members share an interest in exploring and enhancing their enjoyment of Charlotte’s vibrant performing arts scene.
(704) 332-7177 ext. 210
Planned Parenthood, Young Advocates
These young professionals host social events that raise both funds and awareness for Planned Parenthood’s programs and services.
Public Relations Society of America, New Professionals
Members volunteer their time to local nonprofit organizations by strengthening their PR and marketing programs.
Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Young Professionals Society
Members volunteer their time, share their talents, host and attend fundraising events, and enjoy social and business networking opportunities as well as support and perform valuable services within the House.
Samaritan’s Feet, Youth Ambassadors
The Ambassadors are students in grades 9-12 who focus on local and global communities by using their talents to serve disadvantaged children through compassion and advocacy.
The nonprofit pairs high school students with young professionals in Charlotte to create a mentoring relationship through social events and community service.
UNICEF’s Next Generation, Charlotte Committee
This diverse committee of young professionals is committed to furtheringUNICEF’s mission to save children around the world from dying of preventable causes.
United Way of Central Carolinas, Young Leaders
The members of Young Leaders desire to improve the community by offering assistance to local agencies whose programs serve thousands.
Urban League of Central Carolinas, Young Professionals Auxiliary
Members are committed to supporting the Urban League Movement through volunteerism, philanthropy and membership development.
Urban Ministry Center, Urbanites
The young professional group is dedicated to helping the homeless of Charlotte by coordinating social and service opportunities.
Young Black Men Leadership Alliance
The Alliance trains young black men ages 14 to 18 years to be leaders, providing college preparation, community service and mentorship opportunities, and public-speaking skills.
Young Professionals in Energy
Members seek volunteer opportunities and promote awareness for community service projects.
YWCA Central Carolinas, 1902 Society
Members focus on volunteerism while encouraging philanthropy and increasing civic engagement around the issues of empowering women and eliminating racism.
We polled our readers about the events and causes that inspired them this year. Congratulations to the Teal Tea Party benefiting Lydia’s Legacy for the highest number of votes!
(1) Teal Tea Party
Hosted by Lydia’s Legacy to fight gynecologic cancers, the annual tea party includes a silent auction, survivorship recognition and remembrance, health-and-wellness exhibits, raffles and live music, not to mention guests dressed in teal from hats, to socks to pocket squares.
“The tea party is a creative theme and provides an opportunity for men and women to dress up in their finest ‘high tea and teal attire’ to fellowship for a worthy cause.” - Valerie Patterson
“The event does a great job of bringing awareness to the cause with a diverse group of people.” - Yolanda Davis
“Cancer knows no color. Thus, it is wonderful to see persons of all different hues and backgrounds at this event.” - Tiffany Fox
(2) Golfing Marathon
Golf cleats left running shoes in the dust when more than 20 members of the Club at Longview played 100 holes of golf in one day to benefit Safe Alliance. “It is a group of men taking a very public stand against domestic violence. Can you imagine playing five rounds of golf in one day – plus 10 more holes? Over the past three years, The Club at Longview has raised about $375,000 for Safe Alliance by this amazing golf marathon.”
- Bill Coy
(3) 24 Hours of Drumming
DRUMSTRONG at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square brought community members together for non-stop drumming, spontaneous Flash Drummings, rhythm parades and a Not-So-Silent Auction with more than 100 items to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. “Many kids dealing with cancer and their families were present and everybody left smiling– and dancing.”
- Scott Swimmer
(4) Instant Art Collection
Charlotte Viewpoint hosted an Instant Art Collection raffle at The Trolley Museum in South End on November 14 to give one lucky winner a collection of original art for his or her home. “Imagine having a collection of unique art from North Carolina artists to display in your home, give as gifts, or sell to the highest bidder.”
- Charlotte Viewpoint
(5) Park for Charity
During Freedom Park’s Festival in the Park this fall, Giving Tree Realty opened its parking lot for attendees, whose parking payments benefited Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. The funds specifically supported a “backpacks for needy children” community drive. “They had a group of their Broker-Associates volunteering their time,” raising over $5,000 for the cause.
- William Culp
(6) Roller Skating for Support
Charlotte Roller Girls, a locals sports organization, raised $2,000 in game proceeds throughout their season to benefit AIDS/HIV awareness through a donation to Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN). The girls also walked in RAIN’s annual AIDS walk in May to raise funds with family and friends for the cause. They presented their donation to RAIN at their last game of their undefeated 2013 fall season.
(7) Mardi Gras Gala
Masked guests broke from the mold of formal events to raise funds at the Lupus Foundation’s Mardi Gras Gala, indulging in Creole cuisine, live music, a King Cake luxury raffle, a fortune teller’s skills and more. “This event theme ties in with ‘removing the mask of lupus,’” as some lupus thrivers carry a facial rash resembling a butterfly.
- Jenni Walker
(8) Christmas in July
Barbara Laughlin flung open the doors of her home and invited in the holiday spirit as well as Dress for Success Charlotte’s supporters for her Christmas in July Pop-Up Boutique. Santa Claus showed up, as did enough donations to sponsor one woman per month for the next 13 months in the Dress for Success Program. A live musician strummed Christmas tunes, faux reindeer and holiday inflatables accentuated Laughlin’s lawn, and champagne flutes were garnished with red and green beads.
(9) Super Bowl Trivia
In honor of football season, Children’s Home Society (CHS) started a raffle for a prize of: two tickets to Super Bowl 2014, roundtrip air travel for two, five-star accommodations, and car/coach service. “In an effort to get the word out, we have launched a full-scale social media campaign full of Super Bowl facts and trivia to get fans excited.”
- Dillard Spring
(10) Birthday Gifting
Tammy Jewell of Jewell Treats and Portia Kee of The Kee Group celebrated their birthdays at The Vue Uptown on November 8 by giving back to Crittenton & MiraVia (formerly Room at the Inn). In lieu of birthday presents, guests donated maternity gifts, baby gifts and supplies supporting homeless pregnant women. The party theme was “modern chic with event design by The Kee Group, food by Celebrity Chef and of course, desserts by Jewell Treats!”
- Portia Kee
Planned Parenthood reveals how they help the physical and mental health of the community.
The building on Albemarle Road is not an abortion clinic. The Charlotte Health Center for Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc. (PPHS), doesn’t even offer abortion services, although staff will provide any information or referrals for those services. The nearest PPHS facilities to perform abortions are in Columbia, S.C. and Winston-Salem. “That’s not to say down the road we won’t have it,” said Marcie Shealy, Director of Development at PPHS in Charlotte. For now, the Center is staffed with one physician, two midwife nurse practitioners and five nurses. All staff members are trained to explain the Affordable Care Act and to provide corresponding resources. “We do a lot of general wellness visits,” Shealy said, particularly for those without health insurance.
The doors are open six days a week for walk-ins, picking up birth-control refills, emergency contraception and pregnancy testing. By appointment, the center acts as a community resource for other elements of female health care—breast exams, Pap tests, cervical-cancer screening and more. Men’s health care is provided in the form of testing and treatment for urinary-tract infections, testicular and prostate cancer screening, and checkups for reproductive health problems. The Center provides STD testing, treatment and vaccines, LGBTQ education and resources, and general health care—from anemia testing to diabetes and cholesterol screening. “If you call today,” Shealy said, “we will try and get you in in two days.”
PPHS is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives of individuals and their families through public advocacy, medical services and education. It reaches residents of Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Davidson and Greater Mecklenburg County. They receive about 400 visits each month. There are more than 750 PPHS health centers nationwide and 70 independent affiliates. The Charlotte Health Center and office is a branch of the affiliate in Raleigh. “Ninety-six percent of what we do as an affiliate is preventative care,” said Diana Warth, Director of Leadership Giving at PPHS.
While providing that care, the Health Center has no sliding scale for payments and accepts Medicaid and most major private health insurances. Teens are offered discounts. “Our services are about half as expensive as a doctor’s office,” Warth said. “They can just come in and pay out of pocket.”
Through their services, Shealy said: “We’re trying to reduce HIV and STDs in Charlotte. We’re trying to reduce pregnancy.” They’re also increasing education—and this is a service that they offer for free.The organization touches on topics including faith-based ways to approach sexuality and sex, contraception methods, STI prevention, and communication between parents and teens about sexuality. “What we think is that the young adults, teens and children want the education,” Shealy said. PPHS offers three programs in the greater Charlotte area: Teens Taking Action, Community Health Education and Are You an Askable Parent?
TEENS TAKING ACTION
By the time they turn 19 years old, seven of every 10 teens have experienced sex, according to the PPHS website. Two thousand teens become pregnant in the U.S. each day. Teens Taking Action (TTA) pulls this at-risk age group together by functioning as an application-based, peer-education program that communicates information about healthy decision-making regarding relationships and sexuality. “Teens listen to other teens,” Shealy said.
Youths join by filling out an application—distributed by PPHS at their school or printed from the website—to become a Peer Educator. Then they learn from the TTA Coordinator/Community Educator, whom Shealy describes as being non-judgmental.
The participants log 90 hours in a training program at the Charlotte office, which shares a location with the Health Center, to learn how to approach their own sexuality with responsibility, as well as how to address the subject with their peers. They are trained to discuss an array of health topics including alcohol, drugs, and risky behaviors; sexual assault/informed consent; diversity; team building and advocacy. Then they speak to other youths to empower them to make informed decisions as well. Last year, TTA members shared their presentations—which are generally requested by representatives of various organizations—at Communities In Schools, CarolinaCARE, YWCA Central Carolinas, various public and charter schools, and the Latin American Coalition, among others.
For the last three years, Bernettiah Killens filled the TTA Coordinator/Community Educator role and reached an estimated 30,000 people. This year, Christian Chambers has stepped into the position. “The hope is that the teens will stay in the program until they graduate high school,” Chambers said. She asserted that TTA isn’t just focused on talking about sex and contraception: “We all have different elements to our health—mental and physical.” As an example of the psychology behind decisionmaking, she said: “Self-esteem plays into whether or not a teen would choose to be sexually active.”
ARE YOU AN ASKABLE PARENT?
The Health Center staff can legally see any community member who is at least 12 years old without parental consent. But just because they don’t need parental consent doesn’t mean they don’t want parental commitment. Through the Community Educator, PPHS offers the Are You an Askable Parent? program to strengthen the level of communication—about sex and other potentially risky or health-related behaviors—between parents and their children.“I think the parents would prefer not to talk about it,” Shealy said. But she pointed out that avoidance can result in youths getting misinformation. To counteract that problem, the program can be formatted to meet the needs of a particular group and what’s appropriate for them. It is usually carried out in three sessions, with the Community Educator meeting with the kids alone, then the parents alone and finally the kids and the parents together.
“Are You an Askable Parent? can be tailored for any age group,” Shealy said. “Middle school is where we like to start, because that’s where it needs to start.”
COMMUNITY HEALTH EDUCATION
PPHS expands the scope of education through tabling events, health fairs and presentation sessions through the Community Health Education program. Presentation topics include healthy relationships, goal setting, self esteem, male and female anatomy, and prevention with proper condom use. “We try to show them all the options,” Shealy said. On sex education, Warth said: “We promote abstinence first, not abstinence only.” She explained that there’s a reality to relationships across the community. “People are going to do what they want to do,” she said, “but we want to make them safe.” Community Health Education emphasizes the ways in which people can be protected so they can choose when their bodies are ready for reproduction.
As they’ve hosted their programs, PPHS staff have noticed a resurgence in interest from the religious communities in the area, particularly the AME Zion community, in addition to parents, teens and LGBTQ groups. Not only does PPHS then have a chance to share their health and educational services, Shealy said: “I think bringing those communities together will also make the subject a little more approachable as opposed to taboo.”
Meet some of the minds behind the Humane Society of Charlotte’s magic: Shelly Moore, President and CEO; Donna Canzano, VP of Development and Community Relations; and Donna Ragan, Marketing and Public Relations Manager. Despite their difference in energy source—Moore craves Diet Coke, Canzano is all about Starbucks and Ragan relies on a sugar fix—they channel that energy into the common vision they share with their 40 staff members.“Our vision is to be really the resource center in this community for animals,” Moore said. “So our goal is, whenever anyone thinks anything animal, there is a place they can go—and it’s a one-stop shop whether it be education [or] spay/neuter surgery.”
In 2012, this one-stop shop cared for 2,295 animals, with an average of 120 to 150 animals housed at their shelter or in foster care and all set to be adopted daily. That same year, the HSC veterinarians completed 11,841 spay/neuter surgeries at the nonprofit’s two clinics. And that year brought the organization’s highest adoption rate in its 35-year existence: 3,392 cats and dogs were adopted into their “forever homes.”
To sum it up, Moore said: “We have this common vision of what we think is important for the animals in this community, and also the compassion for the people that care about those animals. And I think that’s new.”
Also new is the HSC’s strategic approach to their vision. In 2011 the HSC joined CMPD Animal Care & Control, their main partner, to launchPartnership for Pets,a marketing campaign that educates community members about how to reduce pet overpopulation and improve outcomes for animals. What would a better outcome be? “It would be not ending up in a shelter perhaps,” Moore said. “If they do end up in a shelter it would be adoption. And really just reducing homelessness. And then ultimately reducing, if an animal ends up in a shelter, the chances of euthanasia.”
Educational topics highlight adoption, spay/neuter services and donation options. And they aim to achieve a long-term effect with mutual benefits for pets and people. One point Charlotteans can pick up on: reduced animal-care costs don’t just reduce financial burdens on pet owners, but on taxpayers as well. In addition, Ragan said: “Donating to an organization like this truly allows people to keep their pets. It just goes full circle.”
From another strategic angle, the HSC has targeted outreach initiatives that are typically achieved through grants. In 2012, Pets for Life, a program that addresses areas in critical need of cost-effective pet care, pinpointed ZIP code 28212 as a place with one of the top animal pick-up and surrender rates with CMPD Animal Care & Control. Explaining how they tried to reduce the rates here and in other at-risk animal populations, Canzano said: “We tried to target there with actual staff—people that were newly hired for this particular program—to actually go be part of the community, work with folks that lived there, building relationships with residents and just kind of seeing what they need, trying to help them be better pet owners.”
In ZIP codes 28205 and 20208, the HSC has also recently offered reduced-cost spay/neuter services this year for cats, targeting the most at-risk feline populations. “The whole reason you have a targeted approach is you want to have a greater impact with your resources,” Moore said, “and those communities are determined by the number of animals that are at risk, that end up at shelters. The availability of services in those communities, the demographics of those communities, and the poverty levels, but really focusing on where the need is the greatest so you can actually have a larger impact on reducing those animals from coming into the shelter.”
The statistic they’re calculatedly fighting to reduce: More than 20,000 animals entered the community shelter system last year. Moore said: “We’re being so much more strategic with our marketing focus...with grant solicitation and acquisition of funds and then where to apply those funds strategically based on data that’s coming in from Animal Control.”
“I can get up before a crowd of a thousand people and do an auction and I never get nervous,” Ernest Perry said. “Never even think about it. It’s just a natural thing.”
After more than 35 years of getting up before crowds as an auctioneer for nonprofit fundraisers, the owner and president of Perry’s Fine Antique & Estate Jewelry at South Park has a gleaming addition to his store that isn’t jewelry: the Communitas Award for Leadership in Community Service.
The award—6.5 pounds of glass, cast metal and black nickel—rests modestly in Perry’s reception room and symbolizes unselfish giving and the use of commerce to benefit the community. The award is the product of the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals’recognition program to spotlight creative achievement while linking charities and organizations in beneficial partnerships.
Perry’s business has been linked to charities from its beginning.
His big break came just after gold prices shot up in 1979 and he opened his first Charlotte store in 1980 with his two brothers and his wife Priscilla, attracting an influx of people with old jewelry to sell. Perry began to gather ideas for charity fundraising.
Initially, his staff melted the material and returned it because it wasn’t worth buying to sell in the store, but it was worth donating. He started collecting the unwanted items, from costume jewelry to watches, and selling them through dealers at flea markets and antique stores to benefit various charities.
“That’s how I learned the antique and estate jewelry business,” Perry said. He learned to engage further with the public through jewelry auctions after he and one of his brothers went through auction school.
“It was a lot of fun—a lot of work—to put these things on,” he said. They turned a profit, but he decided the method wasn’t worth the hassle. One day, Perry got a request from a nonprofit: to hold an auction for fundraising. “The next thing I know,” he laughed, “I’m doing one every week for like 30 weeks a year.”
After more than 35 years, his business and philanthropic involvement have converged. The store gained exposure and credibility with the opening of a location at SouthPark Mall—as the singular seller of used jewelry—plus the expansion to stores in Raleigh, N.C., Charleston, S.C., and Fort Mill, S.C. Ultimately, Perry elected to consolidate his business in SouthPark.
“I felt that my future was here in Charlotte,” he said.
Giving precious time, precious metals
This year, Perry has shown commitment to the futures of Charlotte’s nonprofits by giving his time, conducting auctions for Allegro Foundation, Hinds Feet Farm’s Checkered Ball, Komen Charlotte Affiliate, Laugh For the Cure, March Forth With Hope Foundation and Taste of the Nation Charlotte,among others.
“If it’s a legitimate charity,” he said, “we will try to give something to every single one.” After background checks, he gives from his inventory with the help of a staff member who coordinates their donated items and attends the auctions.
“We do everything but collect the money,” Perry said.
Over the years, the company has donated time and treasures to charitable organizations in Charlotte including Make A Wish Foundation, Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina, Fight Night for Kids, Allegro Foundation, Dress for Success andCystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The contributions in 2012 totaled more than $115,000 worth of jewelry donated and sold to benefit these groups. According to SPARK Publications, Perry’s involvement may have raised more than $30 million total for nonprofits in the Carolinas.
He conducts 40 to 50 auctions each year, raising an average of $50,000 per event. He has a strategy with fundraising guests.
“You go fast because you want to create excitement and create an energy there,” he said, “but you have to go slow enough so people understand what you’re saying because you’re trying to raise money. And I keep reminding them: They’re not making a bid, they’re making a donation.”
He has energy for more personal charitable projects as well. A former soldier, Perry created theSilver for Soldierscampaign in 2009 to benefit the USO and those returning from active duty in the military.
“Instead of putting it in the melt box,” he said of the old silver, “we put it in little bags and gave it to USO to allow GIs as they’re coming through to go through it and just pick out something and have it to take to their girlfriend, or mother or sister.”
Hearts of gold
Perry filtered this element of family into another project as well: This year, he and Hadley—his daughter and co-worker—launched the company’s first annual 10 Weeks of Giving event. During the span of 10 weeks, the fundraising focused on 10 local nonprofits—one per week—with 10 percent of Perry’s in-store jewelry sales donated to each organization. In total, the 10 weeks raised $44,642.
Whether he is donating his time and his voice to Charlotte’s nonprofits as an auctioneer, or giving auction items from his inventory, Perry emphasizes that charity involvement is intertwined with his family business. “It really goes back to the root of the company,” he said.
And in the reception room of the company’s current store, the Communitas Award sits and catches the light like one of his precious stones. But Perry isn’t ready to sit still quite yet.
“I would be open to anything,” he said, “but there are some auctions, as long as I’m physically able to do them, I’ll do them forever because I just believe in the cause.”
“We were diagnosed here in Charlotte,” Greg Olsen said. Last May, Olsen, Carolina Panthers Tight End, and his wife Kara learned that their infant son T.J. had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital condition that leaves the left side of the heart underdeveloped.
“They sent us to Boston Children’s Hospital, who are the pioneers of HLHS treatments,” he said. “Everyone there spoke incredibly highly of Dr. Peeler, his history and results, as well of Levine Children’s Hospital. The doctors there recommended that we go home and be treated there.”
The family returned to Charlotte and LCH for Peeler’s expertise. “They told us the best was in our backyard,” Olsen said. “It was such a relief.”
Levine Children’s Hospital(LCH) is a gift to our community. Carolinas HealthCare System(CHS) opened it just five and a half years ago with 234 patient beds in a state-of-the-art facility, after identifying the need for expanded pediatric medical specialities.
Soon after, CHS created the Congenital Heart Center at LCH. This center, with roots in the nationally known Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, has brought world-class talent, expertise and technology for the very best in congenital heart care.
“There are many centers who do average work – we did not want to settle for average,” said Martha Whitecotton, President of LCH. “We want to be one of the best in the country. We owe that to our patients.”
A gift from the community
A group of community members didn’t want to settle for average either. Launched in 2004, the Dreamcatcher Society at LCH has more than 250 members who have made a long-term financial commitment to support the work and research at the region’s premiere pediatric hospital. Since its inception, the Society has contributed more than $3 million and hosts events including spring and fall socials, friendraisers at casual venues, physician visits in members’ homes and hospital tours.
Through their collective giving efforts, the Dreamcatchers have endowed the work of Child Life Specialists, created Children’s Hospital Area Transport System (CHATS) with NASCAR-inspired Dreamracers, purchased a robot to dispense medications to young patients, and most recently acquired a state-of-the-art echocardiology lab through the Partnership for Pediatric Hearts.
Amy Welton, a member of the Dreamcatcher Society, said: “This lab means pediatric patients have their own space and equipment, which is sized appropriately: kid size. Children don’t have to be sent into the adult hospital – or to another facility outside of Charlotte — to access this level of technology.”
Evolution of the hospital
Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute has provided exemplary care for infant and pediatric cardiac patients for more than 50 years. With Sanger Institute as a foundation and the dual visions of hospital staff and community members, the Congenital Heart Center has been able to develop into a robust resource offering a high level of cardiac treatments.
“The reputation of Sanger overall has been key in recruitment of cardiologists and surgeons to our program,” Whitecotton said. “The reputation and vision of Levine Children’s Hospital has been equally attractive to potential recruits.”
The Congential Heart Center treats both children and adults in the Southeast and beyond with congenital and thoracic heart disease. Areas of specialty include neonatal cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery, heart failure and heart transplantation, and adult congenital heart disease.Since the Center’s inception, a team of nationally recognized and board-certified physicians has assembled. The recruitment of Dr. Benjamin Peeler, Chief of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery at LCH and Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, was a significant gain for the program.
A native of Lexington, N.C., Peeler was happy to return “home” to be part of building a the cardiac program at Charlotte’s new children’s hospital. “There was room to grow and tremendous possibilities,” Peeler said.
He has worked to build relationships and to establish high-quality programs to consolidate efforts in Charlotte, which include coordination between LCH and Presbyterian Hospital’s cardiac program. The cardiovascular team has grown to include 12 physicians on the cardiology team, providing an array of pediatric cardiac surgeries and care.
“The growth of Carolinas HealthCare System and Levine Children’s Hospital provides a platform to attract top-notch healthcare providers,” Peeler said. “The commitment is clear and our team wants to be a part of this growth.”
He has noticed how the community, through such groups as the Dreamcatchers, has been a part of this growth as well. “The philanthropic support has been amazing,” he said.
“To be the best requires a significant investment in physician manpower,” Whitecotton said, “additional clinical expertise, including pharmacists, therapists, home care, nurses with cardiac expertise, etc. The key to the center is that it does significant volume — over 200 cases — and produces exceptional results.”
“The treatments and surgical procedures for congenital heart conditions that have evolved over the past 30 years are astounding,” Peeler said. “It is the greatest success story in modern medicine in terms of outcomes and years added to patients’ lives. Between 1979 and 1997, mortality rates dropped by 40 percent and, between 1997 and 2007, mortality dropped another 40 percent.”
Now the largest cardiovascular program in North Carolina, the Congential Heart Center performs 148 different types of procedures and an average of more than 350 surgeries annually.
“We perform top to bottom quality control and process improvement initiatives,” Whitecotton said, “continually examining all steps of care for our cardiac and pediatric heart surgery patients to ensure the best possible care.”