Back to Focus

Madigan Foundation touches lives in many ways

Local nonprofit supports programs for patients, staff members, families

Madigan Foundation president Alfred Buck, second from left, and foundation board member Leslie Burger, right, show their support for the Madigan Healthcare System by attending a recent Research Day at Madigan Army Medical Center. /Courtesy photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

In the early 1980s, Jack Gamble, a retired Air Force major general who was working at Madigan Army Medical Center, came across a military spouse who couldn't afford a stroller to push her newborn around in.

Gamble refused to sit idle and watch that young mother and other's needs like hers go unfulfilled.

"He would see to it they would find a way to have a stroller," said Alfred Buck, who was close friends with Gamble, who passed away recently.

What started with one man wanting to fill a need to prevent someone falling through the cracks in a large system blossomed years later with the creation of the Madigan Foundation.

"Others around Jack became aware that there were other needs," said Buck, the foundation's president. "They realized a group was needed to smooth off some of the rough edges that arise as part of a big organization."

The nonprofit Madigan Foundation's mission is to enhance healthcare and the quality of life through support of programs for patients, staff members and their families. It also supports programs at the McChord Field clinic and Bremerton Naval Hospital. The foundation's board is comprised of 20 members, all who have some type of connection to Madigan.

"All of our members have a serious interest in seeing people get taken care of," said Buck, a retired Army colonel and doctor who worked at Madigan for years as the deputy commander. "We have people who know the territory and know the issues up front."

The foundation fills needs at many different levels. Last year, it purchased 58 eyeglasses and 30 car seats and strollers for family members in need assistance, paid for more than 800 hours of childcare for families with behavioral health appointments, paid for taxi rides for nearly 100 patients who were seen in the ER and did not have means of transportation to return home and provided $3,600 in gift cards for families staying at the Fisher House and military families needing assistance during the holidays.

"Sometimes what we do simply fills in the temporary cracks until the government comes in with financing," said Robert Whitney, a board member who served in the Army for 12 years before serving with the U.S. Public Health Service.

But the care extends beyond just patients, as the foundation helps Madigan staff by paying for after hours meals, funding awards for excellence and paying for conferences and activities.

And since so many board members are former Madigan employees, there is also a focus on staying at the forefront of medical studies that can help military families by providing seed money for various studies to get started.

"We're acting as a catalyst for those ideas," Whitney said.

Ninety-eight percent of donations the foundation receives go toward support of the various programs.

"We have a low overhead," Buck said.

The Madigan Foundation also offers the chance for the public to get involved. For $25, people can become a Friend of the Madigan Foundation.

For more information, visit

comments powered by Disqus