Connie Wittren loves helping people to do good things, and health care is her passion. As the director of the EvergreenHealth Monroe Foundation, she is in a position to do both.

Connie began her career while still attending high school. She worked at Everett General Hospital. Through her contacts there, she was recruited by Dallas Finnell after graduating from college with a business degree. He had established one of the first foundations to raise funds to augment and support health care institutions in Snohomish County.

“Dallas taught me the trade,” she said.

She found the role of fundraising suited her personality and aligned with her desire to contribute to the wellbeing of her community. She worked for this organization for 22 years before moving on for a short time to Housing Hope and then to fundraising for Hospice for 15 years.

A certified fundraising executive (CFRE), Connie accepted a position with EvergreenHealth in Kirkland and was then assigned to the Monroe foundation after the merger with Valley General Hospital in 2015. Connie is very happy to once again be working in and for the Sky Valley community.

Connie’s great-grandparents emigrated from the British Isles in the 1880s. In 1905, her grandparents homesteaded in the valley south of Snohomish, where Connie and her brother were raised. Both proud Panthers, they graduated from Snohomish High School.

Connie brings her passion, talent and wealth of experience to bear on the purpose of the foundation, which is to “seek philanthropic support on behalf of EvergreenHealth Monroe in order to provide financial support for capital needs, health education, and healthcare programs and patient services that benefit the hospital and the community of Snohomish County Public Hospital District #1.”

Connie’s role includes fundraising and management of the foundation. Of particular interest to her is the task of making technical terms and health care issues understandable to potential contributors and the community at large.

Funding for the foundation comes from a variety of sources, including appreciative patients, memorial gifts, responses to direct mailings, grants, estate planning, fundraising events and generous Sky Valley folks who often host events on behalf of the foundation, such as golf tournaments and pancake breakfasts. Also proceeds from the gift shop on the ground floor of the hospital contribute to the foundation’s resources. Connie would like everyone to know that all funds remain in Monroe.

Supporting Connie is a volunteer board of trustees, comprised of 15 local residents who come with a wide range of expertise and a strong commitment to further improve community health care. Connie has a part-time office assistant and the expertise and dedication of Janice Botting, who manages the gift shop and has been a volunteer at the hospital for 20 years.

Connie says that working with the board of trustees, as well as the folks of Sky Valley, is a pleasure. She praises the improvements made to the hospital’s many services since the merger with EvergreenHealth. A few examples of these changes are the on-site chemo infusion clinic, additions to the emergency and critical care facilities and the Hospitalist Supervisory system.

In the past, the foundation has provided funds for the purchase of much needed items, such as technical equipment, hospital beds and a van. Last year, the foundation provided impetus and funding for the remodeling and upgrade of the Recovery Center for detox and substance abuse treatment just south of the hospital. The target for this project was $150,000, most of which has been achieved, and the remodeling is well on its way to completion.

The foundation’s focus for 2017 is to raise funds toward the acquisition of a 3D Tomsynthesis mammography machine, making this state-of-the-art technology available for local residents. The $200,000 cost for this equipment will be acquired through various outreach activities, including the annual Blue Jeans and Boots Gala. This lively barbecue and auction will be held at Pine Creek Nursery on Sept. 9. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Donations are also greatly appreciated. Connie would also like the community to know that there are plenty of volunteer opportunities, from working three-hour shifts in the gift shop, to general duties in the hospital, and being a valued member of the board of trustees. Just give her a call and she will assist in finding the right fit for you.

In addition to Connie’s lifelong dedication to improving the quality of health care, she has raised two children and now has three grandchildren, who are her pride and joy.

A longtime Everett Rotarian, Connie soon will be a member of the Monroe branch.

What does this inspiring philanthropist do for fun? Connie readily admits she is rabid Seahawks fan and has had season tickets going way back.

Welcome back, Connie: we are fortunate to have you.  

Connie can be contacted at her office on the second floor of the hospital at 360-805-6304 or cjwittren@evergreenhealth.com.