Foundation Annual Report

Israel Family Hospice House Exterior - "We are grateful for the thoughtful leadership and for each member of our community who invested in the building and endowment."

Celebrating 20 Years of Dignity in End-of-life Care

So many stories have unfolded at Israel Family Hospice House over the last two decades.

They are touching, inspiring stories flowing with memory and emotion. They are stories of end-of-life care delivered with compassion and respect. They are life stories.

As we take note of Israel Family Hospice House’s 20th anniversary, we think of these stories and how much this incredible facility has meant to so many families in the communities we serve.

A Vision

More than 20 years ago, a group of visionaries, motivated by personal experiences and a clear need in our community, led the effort to make the Israel Family Hospice House a reality. It involved one of the largest fundraising campaigns in the community at the time.

Gillian Draper, Fred Miller, and Jim Stephenson took the lead by raising community awareness about end-of-life issues. With support from hospital leadership and an amazing group of volunteers, they generated community support to build the house. Four years later, another group continued their work by raising funds for the Frank and Bessie Strathman Endowment, ensuring that the services offered by the Israel Family Hospice House remain available to our community.

“Committing to build a hospice house in Ames was a forward-thinking decision Mary Greeley made and one that so many have benefited from the past twenty years,” said Gillian Draper, cochair of the original fundraising campaign.

“It is a loving, caring, peaceful place to be, with nurses, doctors, staff, and volunteers all taking part in the circle of care,” she added. “They surround those who hurt in many different ways, but they always allow the dignity of the patient to be foremost. Treating the whole family is a part of hospice care, and family members have expressed their gratitude many times.”


Since opening its doors on February 11, 1999, the Israel Family Hospice House staff, physicians, and volunteers have provided compassionate end-of-life care for thousands of area residents and their families. Today, the Mary Greeley Foundation receives more than 1,000 gifts annually to support hospice, with nearly two-thirds of those being memorial gifts.

Notes of gratitude from family and friends often accompany those gifts. Following are two examples:

“There is not a better place that Mom could have spent her final five weeks—a beautiful and peaceful facility with the most wonderful caring people to look after her (and us)! Each one of you is not only a caregiver, but also a friend. Thank you for loving on our Mom like you did—may you be blessed as you continue to care for others.”
— The family of Dorothy Blood, hospice patient

“Words can’t express the gratitude I feel for the entire staff and volunteers at the Hospice House. Thank you so much for the caring and compassion shown toward Bob and our family. He really loved his nurses and aides. He told me how he appreciated your kindnesses in preserving his dignity as much as possible. I heard him tell his care team, ‘Thank you for taking care of me.’ Also, ‘I’m happy to see you!’ and ‘I feel happy today.’ You all played a large part in making his final days ‘happy’ and I appreciate that more than I can say. You are all angels on earth and I will forever be grateful.”
— Kim Severson, family member of hospice patient

The Israel Family Hospice House is a place dedicated to the memory of many, and our most sincere gratitude is extended to people like Gillian Draper, Jim Stephenson,
Fred Miller, Warren and Mary Israel, Frank and Bessie Strathman, Barbara Parks, Kim Russel, board and committee members, and of course the staff and volunteers who have made the Israel Family Hospice House the special place it is today.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary, we are grateful for the thoughtful leadership and for each member of our community who invested in the building and endowment. Your commitment, both then and now, continues to make
an impact.

Hospice Stories Over the Years (Clockwise from upper left) In tribute to her granddaughter, Melissa Viers, who passed away at hospice house, MaryAnn Gardner (right) gave a children’s bench for the house’s courtyard. MaryAnn is a longtime hospice volunteer. Bopeng Zhang (right), a young woman from China who was studying at Iowa State, brought her dying father to Iowa to receive hospice care from Mary Greeley. An avid camper, Liz Schabel wanted to spend her last days outside, a wish that staff at Israel Family Hospice House were happy to accommodate. Her bed was brought out to the courtyard, where Schabel spent two nights. Judie Hoffman was able to see her son get married when staff and volunteers helped arrange a ceremony in her room at Israel Family Hospice House.

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MGMC Foundation
1111 Duff Ave.
Ames, IA 50010