Soroptimist International of Albany
Soroptimist International of Albany is a 37-member organization consisting of professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. Since its inception in 1987, the group has shown an unwavering commitment to its cause by donating more than $500,000 to the Linn County community.
According to Jo Ann Banning (pictured here), charter member and president of Soroptimist International of Albany, “What better way for us to live out our charter of helping women and girls than by helping them with their health concerns? We are pleased to be able to help provide critical services and treatment for women who are without or who don’t have enough health insurance.”
Through a variety of events, including its hallmark Walk for the Cause, Run for a Life event now in its 18th year, the Soroptimists raise funds that they then make available to local health agencies through a grant program.
One beneficiary of Soroptimist International of Albany’s generosity is the Emenhiser Infusion Center at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. In 2011, a $10,000 grant helped the hospital establish a new patient assistance program to help women who have been diagnosed with cancer or who are suspected of having cancer. Another $5,000 was added in 2012. Qualified patients who need help paying for prostheses, diagnostic tests, treatment, education materials or travel expenses for medical appointments can apply for a scholarship through this new fund.
Over the years, the Soroptimists have donated more than $400,000 to Samaritan Health Services’ programs, $89,500 of that specifically benefitting east Linn County patients at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital.
“Years ago women were dying because they didn’t have access to early detection or care. It’s been very special to me and the Soroptimists to watch the Walk for the Cause, Run for a Life event grow each year because it means we’ll be able to help even more women,” said Banning. “And it has been so rewarding to read letters from women who have been impacted by our funding. Those letters are both heartbreaking and inspirational. It’s so amazing that we have been able to help so many women over the years.”