Issue 3 Stories
Philanthrophy

Hand in Hand

When Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital moved to its current location on Pantops Mountain in 2011, the staff at nearby wealth-management firm Northwestern Mutual gained neighbors with kindred spirits. The move brought together two community-centered organizations dedicated to improving lives.

“We have a natural connection to Sentara Martha Jefferson,” says Gary Taylor, managing director of Northwestern Mutual’s Central Virginia offices. “Our mission is to help clients create a financial plan that will enable them to build the future they desire. The medical team at Sentara Martha Jefferson helps patients lead fuller, healthier lives. We are all about serving the Charlottesville community, and Sentara Martha Jefferson shares that goal.”

Since then, Northwestern Mutual has been a leadership sponsor of the MJ5K Run & Walk, an annual event held by the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation. The company’s staff also sets up a “spirit tent” in front of the Northwestern Mutual office, which is near the end of the course, allowing them to cheer on the runners.

“We do a lot of screaming, squealing, clapping and encouraging at a time when people need it,” Taylor says.

Last year, a team of runners from Northwestern Mutual also took first place in the race.

“It’s a really fun event, it’s good for the heart and it’s a great way to bring our people together,” Taylor says. “Our team members live and work here in Charlottesville. They are dedicated to this community and to Sentara Martha Jefferson.”

A Charlottesville native, Taylor grew up near the hospital’s original building, and he and his family have been closely connected with the hospital for many years: Taylor was born at Sentara Martha Jefferson, in fact, as were his parents; his wife, Tana; and his three daughters. The hospital’s medical staff also has provided routine care, as well as treatment for serious illnesses, for many of his loved ones, family members and friends.

Taylor has built a team at Northwestern Mutual that reflects the values of passion, integrity and excellence, and he believes Sentara Martha Jefferson reflects those same ideals. So it’s fitting that his professional group—which includes his oldest daughter, Kari—has chosen to provide support for numerous programs at the hospital for more than a decade, including cardiology, maternity, community outreach and the Caring Tradition.

“Passion is all about people—caring about people and loving people—and our team is passionate about supporting the hospital and the community,” adds Taylor, a University of Virginia graduate. “Integrity is about being part of a greater whole. Everyone on our team loves Charlottesville. We’ve all had the opportunity to live elsewhere, but we choose to raise our families here and to be part of this wonderful community. And as far as excellence, we always strive to ‘better our best’ and do great things for our neighbors and friends here. Our core values tie in well with the passion, integrity and excellence in health care that Sentara Martha Jefferson represents.”

While technology has an important role to play in health care, Taylor believes the personal touch still matters, and that Sentara Martha Jefferson’s Caring Tradition has allowed doctors, nurses and other providers to deliver the most sophisticated care possible, while putting patients and their families first.

“It all comes down to people,” Taylor says. “Sentara Martha Jefferson has great people who are instrumental in building a great, caring community. As we live in a world with unlimited access to data, technology and so many different modes of communication, it’s refreshing just to have people nearby who truly care.”

“We’re so fortunate to have a great healthcare system in this community,” he adds. “I’d put Charlottesville’s health care up against that of any other community in the nation—which helps to attract outstanding providers and business leaders to our area. They are our clients, and we help them build their financial strength while Sentara Martha Jefferson helps them live healthier lives. It all comes down to taking care of people together.”

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