Grow Together

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Why Do You Give?

These stories are a glimpse as to why employees give through Grow Together.




Tanisha Ware

Tanisha Ware is a quiet person. She is soft spoken, yet quick witted. She speaks in a calm cadence with morsels of wisdom about parenting like “It may not be who you are, but who you raise.”

Ware has worked for Loma Linda University Health for a little over six years, but the organization held a special place for her long before she donned the rectangular ID badge. “I grew up in Grand Terrace,” she says, “so Loma Linda’s always been right here. It was always legendary growing up.”

Throughout her teens and twenties, Loma Linda University Health topped her list of dream employers. “I had many applications. I had quite a few interviews, but never any jobs until I got hired in payroll,” she recalls. After a few years in the Payroll Department, she made the switch to Managed Care Contracting.

When not working with the delicate relationships of insurance payers, Ware is a mother to an 11 year old son and four year old twins. “Parentings got to be my favorite job,” she says.

When Ware delivered her twins she was able to see Loma Linda University Health from a new perspective – that of a patient.

“The twins were born here and we had a great team of people who took excellent care of them,” she beams. “My nurses were fantastic - so fantastic. I want to carry their pictures with me like I carry pictures of my kids because they were so good to me. I don’t think you find that just anywhere.”

She goes on to describe her 11-year-old son. “He’s a retro kid. He wishes he was born when I was born because he likes the 80s.” Ware has found common ground by watching 80s classics like Back to the Future and Indiana Jones with him. “He likes the retro stuff, but it’s not retro for me. That’s my childhood.”

Family is such an important part of Ware’s life, it seems only natural that her other interest would involve sharing a meal with them.

“Kids and kitchen, that’s my whole life right there,” Ware says jokingly. Baking is one of her favorite hobbies and her specialty dish is banana bread.

“It’s a crowd pleaser,” she says proudly. “I sold it at the bake sale in the 101 [building] and it disappeared in like 10 minutes. It was quite popular.” She had colleagues, disappointed that they missed out, asking about it afterward. Perhaps hoping she would produce a hidden tray of the famous bread.

The recipe is from her grandmother who wrote it down in 1956. “I have the actual recipe and the paper’s the color of my skin these days,” she says gently wringing her hands. “The corner fell off when I was in high school so I laminated it, but it actually fell off again the other day. It’s that old and that used.”

Like many employees, Ware places family high on the list of priorities and that is part of the reason why she participates in Grow Together, the employee giving program.

“I always wanted to give,” she says, “I just didn’t know where to give. People generally decide on something that’s close to home, something that you’ve experienced, but I still didn’t know what to pick.”

The Family Fund provides financial assistance to employees who have experienced a loss, and she decided to give after seeing a video of colleague who was a beneficiary “She had spiritual support,” Ware says of the colleague, “she had emotional support, but she also had financial support that helped her bridge that gap during probably the biggest grieving of her entire life.”

It quickly became obvious where she should give. “This came about and it was like ta da give here. Why not give here? This is where I work, this is what supports me and in the event that I need it I hope that it continues to support me.”

Ware has experienced Loma Linda University Health from a variety of perspectives including a community member looking in, an employee, a patient, and supporter. She pauses for a moment before summing up her experience. “It’s a good place. I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to give back.” 




Karen Mainess

For Karen Mainess, PhD, assistant professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders at Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions, giving to the Grow Together Employee Giving Program helps her counteract the one thing she doesn’t like about working at the school.

“The worst thing is the lack of scholarship funds for deserving students,” Mainess observes. “It is my dream to have, within our department, the funds to provide at least two full scholarships to deserving students every year. The first step toward that dream is for me to give, myself.”

Mainess has been giving back since she arrived on campus 15 years ago. At the rate of $600 per year, or $50 per month, she has managed to give a grand total of $9,000 toward her goal of establishing the scholarship fund she envisions. She explains the need for it in straightforward terms.

“We have no problem filling the master’s of science program, for which I am the program director, every year,” she says. “There are always students who are interested in our program because they recognize, based on what they read about us, that we have a quality program. These are strong students academically and we offer them admittance into our program. But when they find out there are no scholarship funds available, they are very quickly offered those sought-after funds in other programs, and they go elsewhere.”

Even though the $9,000 she has given is nowhere near the $1 million in reserve funds Mainess estimates would be required to fund one or two scholarships, she is not discouraged in the least. She believes in making a start and hopes her example might encourage others to give as well. “It would be wonderful if that happened,” she notes.

In her off-duty hours, Mainess enjoys listening to music—“anything Motown from the 60s and 70s”—and reading. Most of the time, she reads technical research publications relating to her profession, but once or twice a year she likes to clear her head by reading a good whodunit novel. She also likes spending time with her pet, Frieda, the three-legged wonder cat.

“She’s mostly white with some apricot or blonde” Mainess offers. “A long-haired, domestic cat. She was a stray cat in the neighborhood and I took her in. Which was crazy, because I’m a dog lover. We got to be friends. When she got injured, I took her to the veterinarian and I ended up paying for her to have her leg amputated. After that, she was truly mine.

“The best things about working at Loma Linda University are the Christian environment here,” Mainess concludes, “and the students. I really love the students.”




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