Our Foundation has traditionally supported the medical needs of our most vulnerable populations. Since 1993, our Foundation has raised the level of patient care at Charity and University Hospitals, the Interim LSU Hospital and, now, the new UMCNO. During this time, our mission has remained steadfast. It is the mission of the Spirit of Charity Foundation to support and facilitate patient-centered care, actively promote health and wellness and to advance medical research and education through fundraising efforts for the benefit of the University Medical Center New Orleans, its patients and friends.
Peter DeBlieux, MD
Frank Incaprera, MD
Damon Dietrich, MD
Director of Philanthropy
Stop the Bleed Program Coordinator
Foundation Board of Trustees
Juzar Ali, MD
Jack Andonie, MD
Warren Bell, Jr.
Joseph Biundo, Jr., MD
Bennett deBoisblanc, MD
Paul Friedlander, MD
D. Luke Glancy, MD
L. Lee Hamm, III, MD
Edward Helm, MD
Larry Hollier, MD - Ex Officio
Marc Kahn, MD
Myra Kleinpeter, MD
Sally Knight, DrPH
Steve Nelson, MD - Ex Officio
Raoul Rodriguez, MD
Gene Sausse, Jr.
Malcolm Schwarzenbach, III
Jack Strong, MD - Emeritus
Foundation History and the Legacy of Charity Hospital
The Spirit of Charity Foundation (SOCF) was established by Mr. Jerry Romig and incorporated in November 1993 as a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization specifically for an auxiliary relationship to the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans which included Charity and University Hospitals. The Foundation’s founding purpose was to support the charitable, educational and scientific needs of the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans by sponsoring programs and events for the benefit of the Hospital, its patients, employees and friends. SOCF currently supports these activities through University Medical Center New Orleans which replaced Charity Hospital and the Interim LSU Hospital after Hurricane Katrina. It is the mission of the Spirit of Charity Foundation to support and facilitate patient-centered care, actively promote health and wellness and to advance medical research and education through fundraising efforts for the benefit of the University Medical Center New Orleans, its patients and friends.
“Nothing being more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than its hour, being stricken with a dangerous bodily malady, but sane of mind, I desire to settle my affairs, explaining how I intend that my last will be carried out by testamentary executor…a sale shall be made of all that remains, which, together with my small lot, I bequeath to serve in perpetuity to the founding of a hospital for the sick of the City of New Orleans, without anyone being able to change my purpose, and to secure the things necessary to succor the sick.”
These are the words of Jean Louis’ Last Will and Testament dated November 16, 1735. Jean Louis, a French seaman who built boats in New Orleans, bequeathed his holdings to the founding and maintenance of Charity Hospital, a hospital for the indigent sick of New Orleans. The first hospital building was located at the corner of Chartres and Bienville Streets and opened on May 10, 1736, beginning the second oldest continuing public hospital in the United States. Since its inception, Charity Hospital has provided constant care for the indigent population, as well as the funded population in a variety of specialties. While the buildings that housed Charity Hospital have been replaced or destroyed over the years due to outgrowth, hurricanes and fire, its moral beauty and commitment of the highest order have remained through to the present. Charity Hospital has been noted as one of the most efficient and useful charities in the country; given that New Orleans was exposed to greater varieties of human misery, vice, disease and want than virtually any other American town. Much of the same and more can be said of present day New Orleans. There is no doubt that Charity Hospital is of tremendous historical and medical significance and has played and continues to play an active role in the development of state of the art trauma care, high quality patient critical care, and the advancement of medical knowledge through research on specimens from hospital patients.
The privatization of the hospital in June 2013 marked the end of an era of the public Charity Hospital system in New Orleans. The Spirit of Charity Foundation has been dedicated to supporting the Charity Hospital mission of improving and providing medical care for the indigent sick of New Orleans and surrounding parishes. SOCF is preserving the legacy of this significant historical institution and continuing its mission through the administration of LCMC Health at University Medical Center New Orleans.
SOCF seeks to preserve the legacy and mission of Charity Hospital by working in partnership through effective teamwork with LCMC Health to continue to provide programs for patients who are financially assisted with UMCNO’s Charity Care. Our patient assistance programs include Cancer Care Program which provides nutritional supplements, treatment supplies and transportation for our oncology patients. Our Medication Bridge Program purchases prescriptions, respiratory equipment and other durable medical supplies for patients. The Transportation Assistance Program provides transportation to and from clinic/treatment appointments.
The legacy of Charity Hospital also includes its long-standing relationship with our local medical schools, Tulane since 1834 and LSU since 1931. These affiliations have led to the advancement of medical knowledge through research with our hospital patients. The Foundation continues to preserve this legacy through research funding which is available to both Tulane and LSU Medical Schools as well as UMCNO physicians. General Medical Research, Cardiology Research and HIV Research are currently available through the Foundation for the benefit of UMCNO and its patients.
Another way SOCF preserves the legacy of Charity Hospital is by paying tribute to physicians who have made significant contributions to medicine through our Spirit of Charity Award Dinner and fundraiser. This award is presented annually to a physician whose career began or was nurtured in the healing and teaching wards of our beloved Charity Hospital. Dr. Gerald Berenson, our 2nd Spirit of Charity Recipient, has stated, “The Spirit of Charity Award captures the meaning and role of Big Charity to the community. It is the one award I treasure as the training I received at Charity helped me in my career to compete with other well-known hospitals.”
Finally, the preservation of the Charity Hospital legacy is demonstrated in the composition of the SOCF Board of Trustees which includes physician representatives from Tulane and LSU Medical Schools, private practice physicians, and other community leaders and representatives. The Board of Trustees seeks to continue to make decisions providing funding to support and improve patient care within the UMCNO system. This system includes the Hospital, the Ambulatory Clinics and the Norman E. McSwain, Jr., MD Spirit of Charity Trauma Center.
The Spirit of Charity Foundation’s contributions to the growth and historical preservation of the legacy of Charity Hospital is essential to our beloved city and its surrounding parishes as we pay homage to Jean Louis and seek to continue his spirit of generosity to the poor of our region. In doing this, SOCF continues to promote what Charity Hospital has stood for; the ideals of humanism and caring for the most vulnerable in our society.