Patricia “Pat” Edison – Devoted Career of Service
When Patricia “Pat” Edison and her husband, Bill, moved to Porter Hills Village in 1992, he was the youngest man and she was the second youngest woman living on campus! “We made the decision to move to Porter Hills because we were spending our winters in Florida and didn’t need our big house anymore,” explains Pat. “Our three grown children all live in Grand Rapids, and it was very convenient to come here. It’s been a wonderful situation for me.” When Bill passed away in 2000, Pat was especially grateful to live at Porter Hills.
Pat’s career was devoted to nonprofit service, most notably as the Executive Director for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation in the 1980s. “There have been so many changes,” says Pat. “When I worked there, it was just me and my assistant working four days per week. Today, they have 17 staff members, and the foundation has grown immeasurably. It was a time when there was a great interest in creating foundations. A wave of foundations came into being at about the same time.”
One of those new foundations was the Porter Hills Foundation, established in 1995 as the nonprofit fundraising arm for Porter Hills. Because of Pat’s wealth of knowledge in the world of philanthropy, she was asked to join the Porter Hills Foundation Board, which she served from 1999 to 2015.
The charitable aspect of Porter Hills means a lot to Pat. “Benevolent Care is an important feature of Porter Hills and one that speaks to its strong faith tradition. The position at Porter Hills has always been that nobody would be asked to leave because of their financial situation. Helping to grow and sustain the Benevolent Care Fund is an achievement I’m most proud of while serving the Porter Hills Foundation board.”
She adds: “What a pioneer Porter Hills has been in Grand Rapids in the field of senior living! The concept of a continuum of care allows people to move through the various stages of care they need and still feel that they are at home at Porter Hills. The Generations Child Development Center, led by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, is another charm located on the Porter Hills Village campus. Many of our residents have helped as volunteers in the program as ‘Grandmas’ and ‘Grandpas.’”
As a resident of Porter Hills, Pat believes the people – both team members and fellow residents – are the key to the success of the organization. “The staff really makes it go, and the people who live here are so welcoming to newcomers,” says Pat. “That quality has become identified with Porter Hills.”