PNC Foundation helps kids be kids at Children’s Hospital

Rendering of Learning Wall in new Children's HospitalPatients at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital will soon have even more opportunity to play and learn thanks to the continuous generosity of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

The freestanding Children’s Hospital is the latest and boldest addition to the campus, and PNC wanted to be a significant partner in seeing it through to fruition. With a $1 million contribution to the Medical Center in 2005 toward the construction of the new children’s hospital building, the PNC Child and Family Resource Center was designated to provide a place for the Injury Prevention Program to educate children and families about child safety as well as distribute PNC Grow Up Great educational materials. Developed with Sesame Workshop, the educational kit and other materials helps prepare children, from birth to age five, to arrive at school ready to learn.

In 2010, an additional gift of $1 million supported creation of a Learning Wall, which will serve as a warm, welcoming focal point for children and families when they first enter the new hospital building. The Learning Wall will run the entire length of the first floor corridor that will connect the entrance to the rear café, courtyard, and performing arts space. The structure uses glass and light to create a layered visual effect, with four dominant images representing changing seasons in central Pennsylvania.

“PNC has made multiple gifts to the creation of the free-standing Children’s Hospital because we clearly see the importance to central Pennsylvania in supporting happy, healthy lives for our children with world-class treatment close to home,” explains Jim Hoehn, PNC Bank regional president, Central Pennsylvania. “We want to work with the hospital to make a child’s stay as comforting and stress-free as possible. The Learning Wall will go a long way in helping to create a comforting environment for the children and their families. We are pleased to play a role in meeting such an important need at such an important time.”

He adds, “Supporting the Children’s Hospital weaves together all of the elements of our philanthropic philosophy in a grand endeavor to make central Pennsylvania a better place to live, work, and learn – fostering innovative research, economic development, meaningful employment and a better quality of life.”

Having made a significant gift to support the construction of the Children’s Hospital, PNC wanted to provide support for additional elements of the hospital’s design that made entering a medical facility more welcoming. Families whose children are receiving treatment already are facing great challenges. “Our first gift provided resources and information important to the care and education of children,” adds Hoehn. “The Learning Wall provides a welcoming element to the main entrance, which also incorporates the beauty and warmth of the natural world. It is a concept that incorporates our emphasis on supporting early education and the environment and one our children will learn from and enjoy during their visits.”

Along with their financial contribution, current and former PNC employees have taken on key roles in the University community including Dennis Brenckle, retired president of PNC Bank, Central Pennsylvania Region. He serves as chair of the Medical Center’s campaign committee, “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Hershey Medical Center,” as part of Penn State’s University-wide fundraising effort. He also served on the Medical Center’s Board of Directors since its inception and is on the board of The Four Diamonds Fund.

– By Leslie Feldman

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