Munson Health
Sarah Watkins Trippe

If you ask Sarah Watkins Trippe  what she contributes as a new  member to the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation Board of  Trustees, she’s likely to smile, shrug, and say, "I do parties really well."

Trippe has a natural talent for hosting events. She understands the importance of building relationships through creative ideas that result in more people being involved in the Foundation’s behind-the-scenes work.

"I am the consummate support person," she said. "I like the challenge of putting things together that create happiness. There is always a cause that needs to be embraced, something that needs to be taken care of."

Sarah and her husband, Steve, moved to Traverse City in 1981 and raised their two sons, Spencer and Sam, here. They have been fortunate not to need the services of the hospital other than for the birth of their sons. "It’s just important to me to know it’s here if we ever should need it," she said. "It’s our hospital. It’s our community - if I can help in the smallest way, why not?"

What appeals to her the most about the Foundation’s work is making sure funds are available for people who are financially strapped by an illness.

"To me, the Foundation is not only about building facilities," she said. "It’s also about the people the Foundation helps by funding care for those who have no place else to turn. There is a lot of that going on that the community doesn’t even know about."

Six of the 50 funds administered by the Foundation are available to Munson’s Medical Social Workers to assist patients when other resources have been tapped, especially when financial struggles interfere with the patient’s ability to heal or continue treatment.

Sarah is a long-time volunteer with the Foundation and has worked on past major events, including the Munson Ball and the Women’s Health Classic golf outing. When fundraising began for the Smith Family Breast Health Center, the Trippe's made a significant donation by "buying" a room. "We felt that was a necessary project in Traverse City. We’d had a good year and we decided we wanted to do something larger. The new center is so comforting and so much easier to use. It’s like going to a spa up there."

Sarah is looking forward to working on upcoming events to encourage community support for patient  needs and projects such as the new Daniel and Debra Edson Cardiac  Diagnostic Suite. "People are still donating - I think their hearts are bigger during tough times. People feel the needs of others even more."