A Celebration of Generosity: The 2015 Friends of Mercy Dinner

(April 2015) -- The staff of St. Joseph’s Foundation and Barrow Neurological Foundation, along with Dignity Health leadership, celebrated the spirit of philanthropy with many longtime donors during the Friends of Mercy Dinner, hosted at the Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort in March.

Three awards were given to outstanding donors during the event, including: 

Jimmy Walker, founder of Celebrity Fight Night (CFN), was awarded the Sister Catherine McAuley Award. CFN is the largest donor to the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center (MAPC) at Barrow.  Founded in 1995, CFN has raised more than $25 million for MAPC, enabling the facility to undergo two major expansion projects, build a vibrant outreach program and provide care to patients in need. Today, MAPC is the biggest and most comprehensive center for movement disorders in the country.

Winners of the Sister Mary Assumpta Murray Award are John and Doris Norton.  The couple’s long history of generosity to St. Joseph’s Hospital is evidenced by the John and Doris Norton Healing Garden, Norton Manor at Creighton University School of Medicine at St. Joseph’s and the Doris Norton Scholar Program. The Norton’s most transformational contribution to St. Joseph’s is the John and Doris Norton Cardio-Thoracic Transplantation Institute, established through a $19-million gift, the largest ever made to St. Joseph’s. With this critical seed funding, the hospital continues to expand upon its already respected patient care, research and education programs in lung, heart and esophageal medicine.

The Women’s Board of Barrow Neurological Foundation received the Sister Mary Placida Conant Award. Founded in 1965, the Women’s Board has contributed $50 million to Barrow, making it the institute’s largest benefactor.  Programs and services made possible by the board include hundreds of research projects, several centers of excellence, endowed chairs and fellowships, and continuing education programs for nurses.  The group’s 50th-anniversary celebration kicked off with the 2015 Barrow Grand Ball and the launch of the Spetzler Legacy Project, a major fundraising initiative designed to enable Barrow to reach even greater heights in the future.

The event provided occasion for the foundations and hospital leaders to thank donors for their past and ongoing support, as well as provide insights of how financial gifts directly impact the lives of patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Barrow Neurological Institute.

Presenters included Brian Mortenson, president and CEO of the foundations; Linda Hunt, CEO of Dignity Health Arizona; and Patty White, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. All three participated in the evening’s awards ceremony, recognizing members of the community who have demonstrated an enduring commitment to philanthropy. 

The Awards

A highlight of the Friends of Mercy Dinner has traditionally been the announcement of three heart-felt awards that reflect the mission and values of the hospital’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy.

  • The Sister Catherine McAuley Award honors an individual who—like the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy—has a deep compassion for the poor and underserved, and the ability to bring together people of influence and wealth to help those in need.

  • The Sister Mary Assumpta Murray Award is given to a highly focused, steadfast and ethical leader who is focused on shaping a brighter future, giving generously of their own resources while inspiring other to give as well.

  • The Sister Mary Placida Conant Award honors those who demonstrate dedication, creativity and resourcefulness in supporting the growth of Barrow Neurological Institute.