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NCH's Animal-Assisted Therapy program coordinator Kathy King (left), with Caesar and Guinness, and Kathy Tabak, with Daisy, thank customers outside Whole Foods Market in Kildeer during Community Giving Day, April 3.

Want to Plan Your Own Event?

To organize a fundraiser benefiting NCH patients in a specific health area, please contact the Foundation's development director, Kathi Grummel, at 847.618.4272 or

Fundraiser Supports Canine Comfort

NCH's Animal-Assisted Therapy program was the recipient of a local store's charity event

A new Whole Foods Market in the Northwest suburbs helped NCH's Animal-Assisted Therapy program by donating 5 percent of one day's net sales during the store's first Community Giving Day.

Whole Foods Market in Kildeer contributed $2,889 to the Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) program, a popular program that sends dog-and-handler teams to visit patients of all ages throughout the hospital and many outpatient units. For patients in need of comfort and companionship, petting a friendly dog almost always calms both body and spirit—and evokes a big smile.

"We're so grateful for this generous donation," program coordinator Kathy King says. "AAT relies entirely on charitable gifts, and this one will help cover the cost of training and testing the dogs."

The Whole Foods Community Giving Day charity selection process was quite competitive. In conjunction with the Kildeer store's opening, nominations were accepted via Facebook for area nonprofit organizations to be the store's first Community Giving Day recipient. For a month, AAT supporters and dog handlers spread the word, asking their friends to nominate the program on the Kildeer store's Facebook page. Their efforts paid off. The AAT program ranked among the top three nominees, making it eligible for in-store voting, the last step in choosing a beneficiary. Shoppers made their choice clear—they voted for AAT to be the Community Giving Day recipient.

AAT dog handler Kathy Tabak initiated the Whole Foods Market Kildeer fundraiser and kept the process rolling. "It meant so much to me and to all the AAT folks to have our program lifted up and supported in our community—online and in person," Tabak says.

A growing number of active community members are contacting the NCH Foundation to inquire about raising funds for healthcare causes close to their hearts. Area businesses and sports teams are especially drawn to the idea of holding fundraising events for NCH programs because the money they collect is invested right here in the local area—serving their friends, families and neighbors.

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Last Updated 04/10/2009