Thrive by IU Health

October 15, 2020

Philanthropy Funds Rooftop Garden to Offer Patients, Loved Ones and Team Members a Breath of Fresh Air

Philanthropy Funds Rooftop Garden to Offer Patients, Loved Ones and Team Members a Breath of Fresh Air

In the midst of uncertainty and stress, it’s important that all of us take a moment to catch our breath. Now, one IU Health physician and his wife are making it possible for patients, caregivers and IU Health employees to do just that.

Ripley Worman, MD, an orthopedic physician, and his wife, Jennifer, wanted to give visitors and staff at IU Health West an oasis from the typical hustle and bustle of a busy hospital environment. That’s why they jumped at the opportunity to fund a new rooftop garden, accessible to hospital guests and team members. The gift was eligible for a donor match from IU Health Foundation, doubling the Wormans’ impact and helping create a serene, peaceful retreat full of green space and panoramic views.

Worman says it was important for him and his wife to make a gift that would contribute to patients’ and team members’ mental and physical well-being, and give them a place to relax and find relief from these overwhelming times.

“We wanted to be part of creating a space that offers anyone visiting it a welcome break from their routine -- whether they’re a nurse on the floor, a physician in the ED, or a patient needing a little fresh air,” said Worman. “Right now, patients forced to distance from their loved ones, as well as team members on the frontlines, might be feeling a bit disconnected. We’re hoping this space will give them an opportunity to reconnect with nature, and a place to be mindful and present, in a busy and uncertain world.”

According to Michelle McConnell, leadership annual gift officer with IU Health Foundation, Worman and his wife recognized the importance of team member giving, and wanted to set an example for others, especially at a time when philanthropy is being used as a powerful tool to make a difference for so many.

“Team member giving is more important than ever, especially because of the uncertain circumstances we’re all facing," said McConnell. “The rooftop garden will provide an opportunity for patients, caregivers and team members to have a moment to themselves. They can be outside and take a moment to catch their breath, especially when they might be dealing with a difficult situation.”

McConnell also wants potential donors, including team members, patients and individuals, to know that the size of their gift isn’t as important as the impact it will have, at any level. She encourages donors to look within to find inspiration for giving, just as the Wormans did.

“Philanthropy is whatever is meaningful to you, and that makes it meaningful to us," said Worman. "Whether it’s a $20 gift, a $35,000 gift, or a $1 million dollar gift, every bit of it is important in creating that culture that we’re striving for.”

The rooftop garden at IU Health West is in progress right now, and will be open soon to patients, visitors and IU Health team members. If you’d like to learn more about supporting initiatives like this one, that promote the physical and mental health of all those we serve, please contact Michelle McConnell at 317.688.5671, or

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