Saint Joseph Mercy Health System commits $1 million to fight homelessness in Washtenaw County Livonia, Michigan (MI), Saint Joseph Mercy Health System


For immediate release
Bobby Maldonado

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (January 13, 2021) – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System announced today that it has committed $1 million to support the Sr. Yvonne Gellise Endowment Fund for Ongoing Supportive Housing Services (SYG Fund). The financial pledge, which will support the creation of lasting, systemic solutions to homelessness in Washtenaw County, was made in honor of Sister Yvonne, Senior Advisor for Governance at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, and the memory of the late Garry C. Faja, a founding member of the SYG Fund Cabinet and the first President and CEO of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

“Like Sister Yvonne and the Sisters of Mercy who founded St. Joe’s, Garry Faja believed very strongly in the core values ​​that guide the healing mission of our health care system, including respect for the sanctity and dignity of every person, and our responsibility to care for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Alonzo Lewis, president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston. “As a tribute to Sister Yvonne, her ongoing leadership and commitment to those in need, as well as Garry’s memory and incredible legacy of service, St. Joe’s is honored to make a significant investment in the Washtenaw County community and build on health and community programs. partnerships that improve and enrich the lives of local residents.

Each year, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System dedicates approximately $115 million to community programs and services through charitable care programs and community benefits, all with the goal of improving the health and well-being of residents. local. The health system’s goal is to be a national leader in maximizing well-being and equity, and eliminating disparities in Southeast Michigan. It does this by leveraging resources and partnerships; focus on vulnerable people and those experiencing poverty; and consideration of the social determinants of health.

The SYG fund is an endowment fund of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and is distributed to partner agencies through a collaboration with the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. The funds distributed are used to keep families housed by addressing the underlying issues of homelessness. This includes financial support for integrated primary care and mental health care, addiction counselling, employment or job training, transportation, problem solving or dispute resolution, management and stabilization crises and preventive intervention.

“We are extremely grateful for this lasting investment from St. Joe’s,” said Norman Herbert, Chairman of the SYG Fund Cabinet. “In memory of Garry Faja and in honor of Sr. Yvonne Gellise, the SYG Fund will continue its important work to increase the endowment and effectively support more households each year.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for more permanent supportive housing services in our community, to help keep people safe and healthy,” added Lauren Wisniewski, SYG Fund Development Coordinator. “This endowment continues to grow and provide much-needed funding to agencies that share our mission, at a time when other funding sources have been unable to meet the growing demand.”

The SYG Fund pays tribute to Sister Yvonne, founder and board member of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance and a tireless advocate for those in need of health care, facing poverty or suffering from inequality. Sister Yvonne first came to Ann Arbor in 1968 to serve as the General Manager of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor until 1976. She held various positions with the Sisters of Mercy Health Corporation before returning to St. Joe’s in 1988.

Garry Faja joined St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor in 1982 where he spent the next 32 years of his career. He was the first President and CEO of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (1997-2014), which eventually expanded to include then six hospitals in Southeast Michigan.

For more information on The SYG Fund and to learn how you can help address homelessness in Washtenaw County, please visit


About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving seven counties in southeast Michigan, including Livingston, Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, and Lenawee. It includes 548 St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor beds, 497 St. Joseph Mercy Oakland beds in Pontiac, 304 St. Mary Mercy Livonia beds, 66 St. Joseph Mercy Livingston beds in Howell, and 133 St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea beds. Together, the five hospitals are accredited for 1,548 beds, have five outpatient health centers, six emergency care facilities, more than 25 specialized centers; employ more than 15,300 people and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 doctors. SJMHS has annual operating revenues of approximately $2 billion and returns approximately $115 million to its communities each year through charitable care programs and community benefits.


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