To find out how you can plan a gift to NCH, please contact Development Director Kathi Grummel at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 847.618.4272. Options include a bequest, a life-income gift, a gift of life insurance—and more. Visit nch.org/legacy for additional information.
Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin instilled certain values in Donna Drake that prompted her to dedicate her life to helping others. "She never lost her small-town friendliness, and she was the most unselfish person I've ever known," her daughter, Elizabeth Drake, says. When Donna died in 2011, she left a legacy of caring, as well as a generous gift to Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH).
Donna launched a nursing career in Rockford before moving to Arlington Heights with her husband, James, soon after their 1948 marriage. Much of the village was still farmland—and there was no hospital nearby. When their first child, William, was born in 1950, they had to travel to Oak Park for the delivery. Elizabeth came along two years later to complete the family.
By the mid-1950s, Donna was an enthusiastic participant in the communitywide, door-to-door fundraising campaign that turned the vision of NCH into a reality. "As the community grew, she wanted services to be available to everyone," Elizabeth says.
An insurance executive, James was Cook County manager of Country Companies in downtown Arlington Heights. He and Donna both volunteered to serve—and often led—a wide range of community groups.
Still a nurse at heart, excellent healthcare remained a driving passion for Donna. She was active in Nurses Club and she maintained a connection to NCH as a member of the Hospital's Auxiliary. Fellow member Dottie Hardy says, "Donna was a joy to be around. People were naturally attracted to her warm and friendly presence. She was a volunteer who truly exemplified NCH's caring culture."
After the death of her husband, James, and the decline of her own health, Donna vowed to follow through on her long-held intention to make a charitable gift to her favorite hospital. She arranged to make a significant unrestricted gift to NCH just weeks before her death.
"She saw Northwest Community Healthcare as an important and necessary part of the community, worthy of support. It was what Dad would have wanted, too. They worked hand in hand, and they both believed in serving the community," Elizabeth says.