MTS Launches Charitable Foundation and Announces $100,000 in Community Wellness Grants to Improve Health, Reduce the Need for Transplantation

Posted January 22, 2015 in News Category

St. Louis, MO - January 21, 2015: “When communities collaborate to improve health they can also reduce organ failure,” said MTS President and CEO Dean F. Kappel, in announcing the creation of the organization’s new charitable foundation. The foundation will enhance the organization’s existing support for patients and donor families as well as provide additional investment in the community in the form of grants to partners and community wellness organizations, and eventually scholarships.

ryangannon-23Ryan Gammon, who is waiting for a heart transplant while staying at the MTS Family House, is among those served by the MTS foundation.

“We have always shared expertise and resources with our communities. Our foundation is enhancing our services for recipients and donor families, and also identifying new opportunities to collaborate on community health issues,” he added. Kappel cited obesity as an example of the focus of the foundation.

“Obesity is a leading cause of diabetes and hypertension, which can lead to kidney failure and the need for a transplant. Our goal is to reduce the incidence of these diseases, so we reduce the need for transplantation,” Kappel said.

In April 2015, the foundation will award as many as 20 one-time grants of $5,000 to nonprofit groups in St. Louis and Springfield, MO, according to R.J. Crunk, the foundation’s Executive Director. He said that applications are due March 2, 2015. The applications are available on the MTS website.

rj-crunk-3cropped1000RJ Crunk, Executive Director of the MTS Foundation

“Through the grant process we seek to align the resources of these communities and drive change in the health of residents,” Crunk added. He said applications for a second round of grants also totaling $100,000 will be available later in the spring, with a focus on increasing the amount of healthy food distributed by food pantries.

“The creation of the MTS foundation is the logical next step for the organization,” said Robert Bezanson, Chairman of the Board of MTS, and retired President and Chief Executive Officer of CoxHealth in Springfield.

“For years MTS has been leading the way in organ and tissue donation,” said Richard Ellerbrake, Chairman of the Board of the foundation and retired CEO of the Deaconess Health System in St. Louis. “Now, the foundation is investing directly in programs to reduce the need for transplantation and ultimately improve the health of our communities.”

About MTS

Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) saves and improves lives through organ and tissue donations. For more than 40 years it has facilitated and coordinated organ and tissue donation, and now serves 84 counties covering eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and northeast Arkansas that together are homes to 4.7 million people. It saves lives by providing expert and compassionate care. It was the first such organization in the US to use an in-house operating room for organ recovery and pioneered innovative models of increasing donor registry enrollment in an effort to provide organs and tissues to those in need. It is federally designated and one of 58 such organizations in the US. 

About the MTS foundation

The MTS charitable foundation provides enhanced support to transplant patients, donor families and the community. It seeks to reduce the need for organ and tissue transplantation; increase the availability of organs and tissues for those who need them; and to improve the lives of recipients and donor families. The foundation provides programming, develops partnerships and provides community wellness grants to organizations that support its mission of improving health through disease prevention, education and successful transplantation.


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