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Foundation News


Foundation's "Gifts from the Heart" campaign a success

Easing the workload for our Maintenance Department was the focus of this year’s “Gifts from the Heart” campaign. The new Cushman Truckster Utility Vehicle has arrived and will do just that!

Careful capital planning provides for most campus equipment at Laurel Lake. However, when the Foundation can step in and help with a capital need, some projects that may not have been possible to tackle until later can be brought to fruition sooner. The need to replace this campus utility vehicle was one of those instances.

The Maintenance Department worked hard to coax some final productivity out of its aging 2008 Cushman Truckster, but after a decade of use, it was time for a replacement.

This year’s Gifts from the Heart ensure that this new small, but mighty vehicle will work year-round helping crews to enhance the outdoor beauty and safety of Laurel Lake. From maneuvering around the colorful flowers spilling around the Villas in summer to delivering bags of salt to bins near the driveway in winter, the Truckster will always be on the move at Laurel Lake.

After the Kick-off Celebration in June, more than 100 hearts were added to the new, artistic display across from the Front Desk! As they fluttered in the breeze, each heart honored the loved ones and special memories of our caring donors. Together, they formed a large heart showing just what happens when everyone works together here at Laurel Lake.

Since the inception of the program in 1998, the Foundation has received over 1,603 Gifts from the Heart. This caring benevolence has enabled the Laurel Lake Foundation to provide vital funding for hundreds of campus-enriching projects. The Laurel Lake Foundation is committed to helping maintain

our community’s first-rate reputation and legacy of excellence in retirement living and resident care.

The Foundation is deeply grateful for the generosity of all of our donors, especially those who honored loved ones with a Gift from the Heart this year.

Gifts from the Heart Campaign approaches

Each spring and fall, The Laurel Lake Foundation reaches out for support through two campaigns: Gifts from the Heart and Tribute Tree. This year is especially exciting as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Gifts from the Heart spring campaign. For two decades, hundreds of gifts given in honor of special people and occasions enabled us to accomplish so much for the greater good of Laurel Lake!

The benefits of these fundraising efforts are especially important to our residents, their families and staff members. The Gifts from the Heart and Tribute Tree campaigns help fund many vital programs, including the Staff Education Program which eases financial burdens on staff members and brings them closer to their educational goals. Funding also carries out the unfulfilled dreams and wishes of residents who may not be able to do so on their own through the Second Wind Dreams program.

In addition, landscape enhancements are made possible, like the Sutcliffe Tranquility Courtyard which brings sensory stimulation through the sights, sounds and touch of the outdoors to residents who are no longer able to venture out beyond Crown Center.

Programs like Gifts from the Heart and the Tribute Tree offer opportunities for families to honor loved ones and special occasions having made a significant impact in their lives. Those honored may be personally acknowledged with a special note from the Foundation. Plus each is recognized in the Foundation's Giving Review. While so much has been accomplished since its inception in 1994, The Laurel Lake Foundation remains steadfast in its work to enrich the lives of residents, families and staff. Every gift to the Foundation is used solely for projects developed and carried out on our campus.


Thank you for helping us to build a stronger community together 

The Laurel Lake Foundation, and the entire Laurel Lake Retirement Community, celebrated the Grand Opening of the Town Center. Please take a moment to thank our generous donors for their support as you tour the newly renovated facility.


A complete list of names is here.



Money Matters Seminars return in January

Sponsored by the Laurel Lake Foundation, Money Matters seminars return to Laurel Lake in January with a series on protecting yourself from identity theft. The workshops take place in the Community Room from 1 to 2 p.m.

The series kicks off Jan. 16 with the topic "Common types of identity theft." The following week, Jan. 23, will explore the warning signs that your identity has been stolen, and the series will wrap up on Jan. 30 with "Ways to minimize your risk of identity theft."

Blake Rawson, CFP, CIMA, will lead the discussions.

Identity theft is the single, fastest-growing crime in the nation, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In 2016, identity thieves stole $16 billion from 15.4 million U.S. consumers. Learn what to do if it happens to you.

The new identity theft series follows the popular estate planning workshops the Foundation offered last Fall. Call 330-655-1424 to reserve your seat today. Seating is limited.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming Money Matters workshops in April, July and October.



2017 Tribute Tree lights up the commons

Laurel Lake’s annual Tribute Tree Lighting Celebration took place on Wednesday, November 29 at the Fireside Lounge in the Laurel Lake Commons, marking a 16-year tradition. Family members, special friends and memorable events were given tribute on the beautiful red and gold decorations just beginning to fill the tree across from the fireplace near the Bistro.

A special portion of the program this year was an introduction to the new Virtual Dementia Tour by Volunteer Coordinator Kathy with help from Wellness Manager Mary. While Kathy explained the training program that staff members are experiencing, Mary demonstrated the equipment involved. This important program aims at giving staff members a better understanding of the world of dementia which in turn creates an even higher level of resident-centered care.

Earlier in the program, Foundation Board members Amy McCarthy and Ann Kirk took on Board President Sr. Maryann Golonka’s challenge to try to walk 100 feet at Laurel Lake without passing something the Foundation has helped with. After looking inside and outside, both were amazed at how many projects and programs have been accomplished over the years thanks to the Foundation’s generous supporters.

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments prepared by Chef Corey Patrick and his staff pleased palettes while pianist Jack Hurd played seasonal favorites on the Steinway grand piano.

It was noted that since its inception in 2001, more than 2,800 gifts have been given to Tribute Tree campaigns, providing over $1 million in funding to enrich our campus and the lives of residents, their families and staff. The Laurel Lake Foundation is deeply grateful for the generosity of all of our donors and volunteers.

The pinnacle of the afternoon came when Kathy and Mary lit the Tribute Tree officially marking another year of generosity.


 Foundation offers estate planning workshops

The Laurel Lake Foundation will sponsor a series of educational estate planning and preservation workshops designed to inform individuals about the most recent financial tools and strategies available to protect and control their assets. John Sharp, Esq., of Sharp Law Offices and Blake Rawson, CFP, CIMA of Stratos Wealth Partners will present three workshops in October.

The first, "New Estate Planning & Preservation Opportunities for Current Economic Times," is Oct. 11. The Oct. 18 topic will be "Increase Cash Flow in Today's Low-interest-rate Environment." The Oct. 25 program will discuss "Why it Makes Good Sense to Achieve a Zero-tax Estate Plan." Each workshop will run from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Community Room.

Learn how to maximize an IRA, reduce or eliminate income tax on social security and much more. Stay informed, up-to-date and in control of your financial future by learning all that you can from the experts.


Read more here.




Foundation kicks off Gifts from the Heart

With special guests, and a Family Tree overflowing with love in the way of thoughtful dedications, the “Gifts from the Heart” reception brought our community together to celebrate the good works of The Laurel Lake Foundation.

Wednesday afternoon, Foundation Board Chair Sr. Maryann Golonka and Board member Amy McCarthy spoke of the Foundation’s mission to provide life-enriching programs and services for all who live and work at Laurel Lake.

Since 1998, donor Gifts from the Heart have helped to provide funding for many important campus projects. A large part of the work is focused on the Wellness and Lifestyle aspects of our community. For example, the brand new Virtual Dementia Tour program is a coordinated training effort between our Wellness and Activities departments. This program will make a significant impact in helping our staff to better serve those suffering from dementia. Also, just last year, the Music & Memory program was established and provides emotional and physical comfort to those struggling with anxiety or other conditions, through music.

Fitness assistant Debbie Pekar and Chaplain Jon Dodson were so excited about the Foundation’s help in caring for the physical, spiritual and mental well-being of our residents that they tried to lead a hike and plan a relaxation event right in the middle of the kickoff program!

After a bit of coaxing, they agreed to wait at least until the reception concluded.

Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and refreshments prepared by Chef Corey Patrick and his staff, while Michael Sullivan, a piano and composition major at Baldwin Wallace College entertained the crowd on the 1927 Steinway, restored by the Foundation.

If you have not already done so, there’s still time to honor a loved one or special occasion with your own “Gift from the Heart.”  Gift forms and envelopes are available at the Front Desk, at Crown Center Reception and in the Foundation office.



2016 Tribute Tree lights up Laurel Lake Commons

Laurel Lake’s annual Tribute Tree Lighting Celebration took place on Wednesday, December 1 at the Fireside Lounge in the Laurel Lake Commons, marking a fifteen year tradition. Family members, special friends and memorable events were given tribute on the beautiful red and silver decorations just beginning to fill the tree in its new space across from the fireplace near the Bistro.

Having participated in the Second Wind Dreams program funded by The Laurel Lake Foundation, residents Bruce and Faith Bye carried out the honors of lighting the 2016 Tribute Tree to kick off the holiday season. Foundation Director Alisa Getzinger shared how Laurel Lake’s Activities staff helped make one of Bruce and Faith’s wishes come true during last year’s NBA season, with an evening of VIP treatment for a Cleveland Cavs game at Quicken Loans Arena.

Foundation Board members Liz Murphy, Ann Kirk and Amy McCarthy continued the program by reflecting upon dozens more programs and projects made possible by the Foundation over the past two decades.

Guests chuckled as Alisa took a moment to point out the obvious (but completely unintended) similarities between the 2016 Tribute Tree and Ohio State University colors. She offered words of encouragement to our Michigan fans that there is always next year!

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments prepared by Chef Corey Patrick and his staff pleased palettes while pianist Debbie Yasutake played seasonal favorites on the Steinway grand piano accompanied by internationally recognized flutist Jane Berkner.

It was noted that since its inception 15 years ago, over 2,700 gifts have been given to Tribute Tree campaigns, providing over $1 million in funding to enrich our campus and the lives of residents, their families and staff. The Laurel Lake Foundation is deeply grateful for the generosity of all of our donors and volunteers.



Capital campaign comes to a close

Residents and staff received some exciting news at the Special Town Hall on December 14. The Laurel Lake Foundation announced that it will bring its Town Center Capital Campaignto an early and successful close—due to some surprising but positive developments.

First, some background information: In 2014, the Laurel Lake Board of Directors first approached The Laurel Lake Foundation with a request to help fund the Town Center Renovation project. The plan was that Laurel Lake would pay for this multi-million dollar campus update through a combination of Laurel Lake capital dollars, bank financing, and $1.5 million to be raised by the Foundation.

The Foundation immediately began the “quiet” phase of its capital campaign, which lasted a little over a year as donors privately committed to major gifts that would lead the way for the “public” phase. That preliminary phase brought us to 65% of the $1.5 million fundraising goal. Then in May 2016, the Foundation launched the public phase of the campaign. Laurel Lake residents, family members, staff and vendors generously stepped forward to help bring the campaign to 86% of the goal—a total of $1,288,947. Most public campaigns last at least 18 months, but our community came this far in just 8 months!

Even as the capital campaign was making great progress, Laurel Lake itself was having an exceptionally good year financially. In 2016 our campus experienced a better-than-anticipated cash flow due to vigilant expense controls on the part of management, staff, and residents. Therefore, Laurel Lake’s Board of Directors, along with the Foundation Board, unanimously agreed to apply a portion of this year’s extra cash to the Town Center Renovation project.

For this reason, it is no longer necessary for the Town Center Capital Campaign to reach the $1.5 million mark. It will instead be brought to a successful close.

Once the Wellness Spa is completed next year, Laurel Lake will mark the success of the Town Center project and campaign with a major celebration. But for now, we thank everyone for their support both financially and through volunteering, including the Laurel Lake Board of Directors, Foundation Board, Resident Council and staff volunteers.

The Foundation still encourages community members to support Laurel Lake’s 2016 Tribute Tree giving program, now in progress, in order to help fund many special programs that enhance quality of life for residents and their families.




Town Center Capital Campaign passes $1.2 million mark

Over two days of intensively festive construction activity, The Laurel Lake Foundation unveiled the latest plans for the new Wellness Spa and shared a milestone amount in revealed donations and pledges.

The Town Center Capital Campaign activities kicked off when the Capital Campaign Work Crew members gathered at a Demolition Party on Wednesday for an afternoon of hard work. Fitness Director Susan Busko got things started by swinging a sledge hammer around the Community Room. Once the hammer was pried out of her hands, CEO David Oster used it to start demolition outside. Mike Rowe, director of environmental services, gave him a hand and fired up the jackhammer. All for show of course!

At the Capital Campaign Reveal Celebration on Thursday, Susan Busko again got the party started and announced the names of new donors to the Work Crew and a landmark $1.2 million in revealed donations and pledges.

New plans were officially unveiled to cheers and applause at each event.  Residents and guests gathered around the colorful display looking at drawings of the new pool and the location of the fitness facility. Plus color renderings of the interior and exterior of the pool were on display.

Everyone at both events were “put to work” and used ball pein hammers to demolish the original blueprints for the pool and fitness room by hammering through drywall specially crafted by our Maintenance staff for both occasions. 

All were invited to use “mechanical pencils,” also known as Sharpie markers, to make their mark on the “Graffiti Wall” and add well wishes for the future of Laurel Lake.  The Wall will return for viewing when the Town Center Renovation Project is officially dedicated next year.

The final job required everyone to sign a steel girder which will be placed within the Wellness Spa walls and become a permanent part of the construction, commemorating the campaign and its slogan, “Building a Stronger Community Together.” 

Both the Graffiti Wall and Commemorative Girder will be displayed at an upcoming Staff Town Hall, so staff members also have an opportunity to be part of the celebration. Be sure to stop by the Laurel Lake Commons to see the exciting new Wellness Spa plans, the next phase of the Town Center Renovation project.



Foundation Fact: Video series available on VCTV

Have you seen The Laurel Lake Foundation video series on the Town Center Renovation Project? We’ve spent the last few months talking to folks all around campus who are excited about the new, improved therapy department; the cozy mission offices and the life-changing fitness opportunities on the horizon. We sat down with others to find out how programming will be improved and what the Trim Shop will look like when the renovations are complete. We even followed Mike Rowe back into the restricted area to find out what was going on behind those construction walls. All of the videos are running, on a rotating basis, on VCTV Channel 126-1852. You can catch our most recent conversation with Sr. Anne Marie Diederich and Allison Hutchins at 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. If you’ve missed some of the previous videos, they can also all be found on The Laurel Lake Foundation website – www.laurellakefoundation.org. Simply click on the foundation heading and then foundation news. The Laurel Lake Foundation is committed to supporting the Town Center Capital Campaign.


Mission Department excited about Town Center renovations

Members of the Laurel Lake Retirement Community Mission Department share their thoughts on what the Town Center Capital Campaign means to them.


Foundation Fact

The Laurel Lake Foundation has debuted a new feature in the weekly Friday Flash: Foundation Facts. Each week we explore a different aspect of the Foundation and how it supports the mission of the Laurel Lake Retirement Community. Here is this week's fact.

Did you know that as a convenience to our donors, The Laurel Lake Foundation accepts gifts via credit cards? Now, you can support the good works of the Foundation and enjoy the perks of oyour credit card rewards programs at the same time! It's such an easy way to support the good works of the Foundation and reap the benefits offered by your credit card company whether you earn airline miles, dining points or cash back! For more information, visit our website at www.laurellakefoundation.org or contact the Foundation Office at 330-655-1424.


Laurel Lake Vendors Show Campaign Support


 Richard and DeJuan

Anticipation was in the air as the crowd gathered to hear the latest update at the Town Center Capital Campaign Reveal Celebration on Wednesday.  Special guests and new donors to the campaign, Eric Casperson and his daughter, Chelsea from the A. Casperson Company were welcomed and acknowledged for their campaign support with a lively round of applause. Maintenance Coordinator, Jim Fausnight, was on hand to introduce the father-daughter team to residents and staff. 

Richard Wilk, security and transportation coordinator, sporting his “western” hard hat, opened the event with the help of Dining Room Manager, Gina Alesci and Dining Room Coordinator, DeJuan Harris. 

The crowd applauded as Richard announced each new Work Crew donor and Gina added the name to the display.  The applause grew louder as Laurel Lake vendors Augere Construction Company, R.B. Thomas Electric Company and Ted Knight and Sons Construction joined the donor Work Crew ranks along with the A. Casperson Company to help bring the Town Center Capital Campaign closer to its goal.

Finally, DeJuan helped to peel away even more squares showing new glimpses of the Wellness Spa design and closing the event by revealing campaign gifts and pledges of $1,134,470! 

Following the presentation, guests chuckled as they enjoyed specially prepared servings of trowels and spackle…better known as crackers and spinach dip when Laurel Lake construction isn’t underway!

Make sure to watch for Campaign updates and catch some of your favorite staff members on VCTV Channel 126-1852 as they tell how this exciting project will enable them to better serve our residents.  Plus, look for Mike Rowe, Director of Environmental Services, to go behind the scenes and give viewers a sneak peek of the renovations.


Take a peek behind the scenes of the Town Center Renovation Project

 Vanna Liz

Capital Campaign Vanna-stravaganza!

A hush fell over the crowd gathered for Wednesday’s Capital Campaign Reveal Celebration as they waited to catch the first glimpse of the surprise guest. Foundation Board Member, Liz Murphy, held true to her word and delivered famed television gameshow icon, Vanna White.

At a recent Foundation Reveal Celebration, Liz promised to dress up as the Wheel of Fortune hostess and big-letter-turner, Vanna White with the next campaign gift of $25,000 or more. Residents, Bob and Ann Briechle, generously stepped forward in response to Liz’ challenge.

While Emcee Sister Ann Marie Diederich, Director of Mission Integration, announced the newest members of the Capital Campaign Work Crews, Vanna proudly placed those new names up on the display boards in the Laurel Lake Commons. She then glided across the room in her diamond-encrusted high heels and revealed even more of the exciting Wellness Spa design.

For the grand finale, Sister Ann Marie and Vanna announced the latest Revealed Gifts and Pledges amount of $1,100,605 toward the Campaign goal of $1,500,000.

The Laurel Lake Foundation is deeply grateful to their caring donors for helping to make the Town Center project a reality. Check the Town Center Capital Campaign display board in the Laurel Lake Commons and the Friday Flash for regular updates.

For those who have yet to pledge their support, please consider doing so and take a moment to reflect on how your families and you have enjoyed and used the spaces under renovation and what these improvements will mean to all of our residents and staff going forward.

Tune in to Laurel Lake’s in-house TV channel where many familiar faces will detail what the Town Center Renovation project means to them. Or, watch the videos on The Laurel Lake Foundation website.


Town Center Capital Campaign Video Series

During the Town Center Capital Campaign, The Laurel Lake Foundation checked in with several different departments to find out what they were most looking forward to after the renovations at Laurel Lake are complete. First up in the Town Center Video Series was Fitness Director Susan Busko, along with Nancy Pucillo and Kathy Marged. Next, the Foundation visited the Trim Shop and found that they were extremely excited about the upcoming renovations. The third installment in our video series was the Therapy Department. After months in a temporary home, they are looking forward to all of the amenities available in their new home.

Susan Busko returned for the fourth and fifth videos in the Town Center series. In the fourth installment, she was joined by Fitness Department members Debbie Pekar and Jill Rango, and in the fifth video, she and Betty Presti talk about how programming will be positively impacted when the renovations are complete.

See what they all have to say in their own words.




Town Center Capital Campaign passes $1 million mark

     Just four short weeks after the launch of The Laurel Lake Foundation’s Town Center Capital Campaign, support for the renovation project has already topped $1 million!

    An amazing $1,058,596 in gifts and pledges from residents, staff, family and friends was announced by Programming Manager Susan Busko at the special June 1st Reveal Party—more than 70% of the $1.5 million goal.

    Since Laurel Lake resident Mike Collins and his family made their lead gift of $500,000, more than 65 donors have also stepped forward to support this vital project. As of June 1, 100% of the members of the Laurel Lake Foundation Board, the Laurel Lake Retirement Community Board and the Resident Council have accepted the challenge and have given their support to help lead the way. A remarkable 43 individuals, couples and organizations have made significant gifts and their names now grace the “Town Center Renovation Team” boards by the capital campaign’s main display.

    At the Reveal Party, Foundation Board member Amy McCarthy peeled away squares to unveil more of the exciting new Wellness Spa design. Stephanie Jeffrey, Program Manager for Laurel Lake’s Therapy Department, added eight more names to the Town Center Renovation Team boards.

    The Town Center Renovation is Laurel Lake’s largest renovation project of all time, updating, revitalizing and expanding core amenities that were built to serve a smaller community more than 27 years ago. Today Laurel Lake’s high occupancy and health-conscious resident population are placing record demands on these active lifestyle facilities, so the renovation comes at a critical time for our booming community.

    The Town Center project includes the new Bistro and Colony Shop, an expanded, state-of-the-art Therapy Center, a new Arts & Crafts Studio, the renovation of Laurel Lake’s “Main Street” common areas, a much larger Wellness Spa with expanded Fitness Center, Pool and Spa Salon, renovated employee break areas, and more.

    Needless to say, Laurel Lake’s health and wellness teams can hardly wait for the new facilities to come on line. Tune in to Laurel Lake’s in-house TV channel to hear some of your favorite staffers tell you how the new facilities will help them better serve you.

    The Laurel Lake Foundation is so grateful for the generosity of donors thus far, and encourages those who have not yet given to consider lending your support. Watch the Town Center Capital Campaign display board and Friday Flash for regular updates!






Snow business

2015 Tribute Tree funds used to purchase Ventrac Compact Tractor


Snow doesn’t stand a chance at Laurel Lake Retirement Community with the new Ventrac Compact Tractor and snow removal system on the job.

Thanks to generous gifts and donations, The Laurel Lake Foundation raised the funding necessary for the tractor through its 2015 Tribute Tree.

The annual Tribute Tree Lighting Celebration Kick-Off took place in the new Bistro Dec. 2 and by the end of the season, more than 200 gifts were given with many tribute ornaments dedicated to loved ones. Displayed in the Laurel Lake Commons, where residents and guests frequently visit, the Tribute Tree honors loved ones, friends, staff members and special events.

Snow doesn’t stand a chance with the new tractor on the job.

Loaded with features to help clear both a light dusting of snow or a major blizzard, the tractor should significantly cut down the time needed to plow around the 150-acre campus. The “V” snowblade maneuvers efficiently in small spaces, like the sidewalks around the villas. The tight turning radius means it can get around trash receptacles, lighting structures and raised plant beds. The rotary snow broom takes care of light-to-medium snowfalls, while the heavy-duty snow blower is perfect for major storms. The rear-mounted salt spreader lays down de-icing material while the brush and blower are working. The tractor even has a heated cab to keep the operator warm while working.

Scott Polidoro, groundskeeping coordinator, was especially pleased with the tractor’s performance after Mother Nature covered the area with the first major snowfall of the season.

“It went perfect, better than I expected,” he said. “I didn’t have to put any salt down so we saved there.” Polidoro said he was able to clear more Villas than he thought he would and the tractor even maneuvered in between the carports.

As winter makes its presence known over the next few months, the Ventrac tractor is sure to blast through the drifts making life easier for residents, volunteers and staff at Laurel Lake.

More than $10 million in gifts have been donated since the Foundation began in 1994.

Sr. Mary Ann Golonka, chair of The Laurel Lake Foundation, spoke of her appreciation for the continued generosity from donor support and reflected on the many different projects and programs that were made possible.

The Laurel Lake Foundation is deeply grateful for the generosity of all of our donors, especially those who honored loved ones with a Tribute Tree gift this year.