An Evening of Making Hospitals a Better Place to Get Better

Recently, enCourage Kids Foundation (EKF) hosted its highly anticipated Gala, a night dedicated to honoring exceptional individuals and raising funds for their hospital programs and their 20th Annual Golf Outing. With an unwavering commitment to making hospitals a better place for children to get better, EKF continues to make significant strides in doing just that. I had the opportunity to interview Jean Butler, President and CEO of EKF, and ask some of the important questions about their work and vision for the future. 

Noting that this Gala is always well-attended, almost four hundred people filled the exquisite Cipriani South Street in support of the work of the organization and its honorees: Josh Cromer (Rialto’s Investment Management Credit Investments) and Adam Doneger (Newmark’s Executive Vice Chairman of U.S. Capital Markets). These two honorees were selected due to their exceptional dedication to their community and unwavering support for children. “Their philanthropic endeavors and advocacy aligned perfectly with mission of EKF,” stated Butler. “Adam Spies of Newmark who not only is a Dinner Chair and EKF Board Director, but was himself a Gala honoree in 2013, told us about Adam and Josh, and once we met them, we knew they were the right individuals for this honor.” Once they were acquainted, it became clear that they were deserving of this prestigious award.

After raising a significant amount of funds, Butler is very excited for the future. “This year, EKF is focused on growing its programs and establishing partnerships with hospitals across the country. All the funds raised will be used to support EKF’s vital programs, including the Jay Anderson Pediatric Hospital Support Fund and the Send A Smile, Send A Bear Program. Additionally, the proceeds will aid in the expansion and development of the Mental Health Wellness Program, with the aim of making it scalable for national distribution.” There is no doubt that Butler has an extreme interest in expanding this organization and help improve the lives of many children.

In line with their commitment to serving children in hospitals, EKF recently launched a national Toy Distribution campaign. “This initiative aims to bring joy, comfort, and healing to children facing chronic illness, medical procedures, and challenging diagnosis. In collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, EKF organized a successful toy distribution event last month, offering children and their families an opportunity to select their own toys.” Butler says that she plans to replicate this heartwarming event on a national scale so that EKF can continue to make a tangible impact on the lives of young patients.

Over the past year, the landscape of pediatric healthcare has faced significant challenges, particularly concerning mental health. When Butler heard about this she was compelled to act, and stated, “EKF launched a Mental Health Wellness pilot program in collaboration with healthcare experts and hospital partners nationwide to develop three safe kits. These kits contained an array of items which offer creative expression, coping support, and distractive play. The kits not only allow pediatric patients hospitalized for self-harm or attempted self-harm to have an outlet to communicate, but also act as a resource for healthcare professionals who are treating these children in crisis.” The success of the program has paved the way for national scalability, allowing EKF to continue addressing the mental health needs of pediatric patients and providing essential support for healthcare professionals.

Butler exclaimed, “EKF is eagerly anticipating a year of growth and expansion. Our primary focus lies in expanding programs, cultivating new hospital partnerships, and establishing collaborations with brands and corporations that amplify their impact.” As they continue to meet the evolving needs expressed by hospital partners, EKF is actively seeking new funding partners to secure their long-term sustainability. Additionally, the foundation is actively exploring new marketing initiatives to increase their visibility among the public.

The recent Gala and golf outing was a resounding success, allowing them to honor deserving individuals and raise funds for their impactful programs. With their unwavering dedication to pediatric healthcare, EKF continues to uplift the lives of hospitalized children, bring smiles to their faces, and provide much-needed support during challenging times. As they forge ahead with expanding their reach, EKF remains a beacon of hope, fostering a brighter future for young patients and their families.

EKF is planning some big events, so mark your calendars for EKF’s 9th Annual Serving Up Smiles Tasting event, scheduled for Monday, October 16th, 2023, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. This extraordinary event will feature a diverse array of renowned chefs, restaurants, and beverage sponsors from the tri-state area. Butler says, “Attendees can also look forward to engaging in a thrilling silent auction, offering luxurious resort stays, golf foursomes, beauty products, restaurant gift cards, and more.” Therefore, making this event one you do not want to miss.

What an incredible organization doing outstanding work making hospitals a better place to get better.

To learn more about the enCourage Kids Foundation, please visit


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