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Embracing the Power of Generosity: A Core Value at Cook Children's


Thursday, Sept. 21 is North Texas Giving Day. While the term "giving" is used on this day, Chief Development Officer Grant Harris, senior vice president of the W.I. Cook Foundation prefers the term "generosity" because of its more inclusive and expansive nature. To him, generosity goes beyond transactional giving. It embodies a way of being, a mindset that influences all aspects of life. Watch the video and read the story to learn more.

By Malinda Mason Miller

culture platform jpegThe Cook Children’s culture platform serves as a guiding light for employees, shaping the way they serve patients and interact with one another.

Launched in 2022 after years of input from focus groups, the culture platform encapsulates ideals such as kindness, collaboration, imagination, generosity, respect, and safety. These values act as a compass for every interaction with patients, families, and fellow team members.

Chief Development Officer Grant Harris, senior vice president of the W.I. Cook Foundation, is particularly passionate about the value of generosity. As a community engagement leader for Cook Children's Health Care System, he takes his role to heart.

Grant prefers the term "generosity" because of its more inclusive and expansive nature. To him, generosity goes beyond transactional giving. It embodies a way of being, a mindset that influences all aspects of life.

Generosity in Action

Generosity manifests in various forms. Consider a situation where a family with limited English seeks directions from a maintenance employee. Instead of merely offering directions, the employee personally escorts the family to their destination. This act requires more effort than a simple gesture, but it exemplifies generosity in action.

Grant explains, "When you give of time, treasure, talent, or experience, you're serving one another in a far greater way than just giving money."

Even in the bustling atmosphere of Cook Children’s, simple gestures hold the power to uplift. A nurse manager, rushing to a meeting, takes a moment to smile at families in the hallway. This small act can brighten the challenging day of patient or parent. .

A Legacy of Generosity

Generosity extends beyond financial contributions; it's about the ways we give back. Over a century ago, Fort Worth Free Baby Hospital was established to care for infants and toddlers, regardless of financial circumstances. This hospital set a precedent by prioritizing the health of babies, a groundbreaking concept at the time.

The legacy of generosity continued with the Cook family's contribution of royalties from an "oil patch" in Albany, Texas. Their financial support transformed Cook Children’s into a beacon of care and support for children. Through history, including the polio epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fort Worth community's generous contributions enabled Cook Children’s to grow and fulfill its mission.

Three Aspects of Generosity

Grant views generosity through three lenses:

  1. Mindset of Generosity: Employees actively seek opportunities to serve, integrating generosity into their approach. This mindset becomes ingrained in the DNA of Cook Children’s employees, new and old.
  2. Time for Generosity: Regardless of pay scale, time is a universal currency. Volunteering is deeply embedded in Cook Children’s culture, transcending job titles.
  3. Talents Shared: Cook Children’s staff possesses diverse talents, from singing to art. Embracing new ideas, sharing experiences, and using creativity enriches patients' lives.

Generosity's Ripple Effect

Valerie Gibbs, DNP, RN, CPN, director of perioperative services, was inspired by Laura Garrett, RN, an emergency department retiree. Valerie learned the art of "giving light" from Laura, a mentor and her mother, who believed that decisions focused on patient well-being lead to professional success.

“She told me, ‘As long as you focus your decisions on the well-being of the patient, you’ll always be successful at work,’” Valerie said.

Jill Koss, MS, CCLS, director of Family Support Services, emphasizes the importance of instilling generosity in children. Generosity not only enhances mental health but also cultivates empathy and a broader perspective on life's challenges.

“It is important for adults to remember the importance of instilling generosity in kids,” Jill said.

Families and caregivers who nurture a culture of generosity in children contribute to a brighter future. Generosity becomes a lifelong trait, shaping individuals who give back and uplift their communities.

In essence, generosity at Cook Children’s extends beyond financial support; it permeates every aspect of the organization, from interactions with patients to the mindset of employees. By embracing generosity as a core value, Cook Children's ensures a culture of care, compassion, and positive impact that echoes through generations.

“You’ve been blessed … now how do you bless others?” Jill asked, simplifying the generosity mindset, in hopes that colleagues and the children they serve will pass it forward.

Another facet of this culture of generosity is seen in sharing knowledge and research. Carly Witulski, MSN, FNP-C, Nurse Practitioner in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, recently presented research at the Global Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Congress.

Her findings highlighted how comprehensive cancer teams, like those at Cook Children’s, contribute to better long-term outcomes for oncology patients compared to those receiving care through community touchpoints.

Carly's dedication to sharing research embodies the essence of generosity, aiming to improve the lives of adolescents and young adults affected by cancer.

"By sharing research, we help more adolescents and young adults survive and thrive with cancer." This commitment to generosity in every form sets Cook Children's apart as an institution that not only provides care but uplifts communities and inspires positive change,” Carly said.

Express Your Generosity

Cook Children's Health Foundation matches the needs of the health care system with generous philanthropic support from the community to enhance patient programs and services. Each contribution is a significant investment in the health and well-being of the children in our care and our communities. We have many ways for you to express your generosity. Click here to find the right fit for you.