Robin Kalinowski

Why I give: Robin Kalinowski

August 21, 2019

Robin Kalinowski knows from personal experience how the dollars she gives make a meaningful impact on her fellow employees.

The supervisor with nutrition and food services at Sanford Bismarck donates each pay period to the Sanford Health Foundation Employee Crisis Fund because when she needed it most, this fund was there to help her family.

Early one morning, Robin found her husband, C.J., struggling to breathe. The device regulating his heartbeat had malfunctioned and was no longer working correctly.

At the time, C.J. was transitioning between jobs and had a couple weeks off. During the transition, C.J. didn’t have health insurance and thought he wouldn’t need it. Robin recalled her husband saying, “What could happen in 13 days? I feel fine.”

With C.J.’s life in peril, the last thought on Robin’s mind was his insurance coverage. She called 911, and soon C.J. was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room.

Over the following days, the cost of C.J.’s recovery in the hospital, follow-up appointments and adjustments to his pacemaker started to add up. Without medical insurance, Robin and C.J. didn’t know what they would do. The price of the ambulance ride alone was more than their family could afford.

“I was distraught, stressed and panicked as to where we could come up with this money,” Robin said. “I thought it would take years for us to recover.”

Then a coworker told Robin about the Employee Crisis Fund, which provides financial assistance to Sanford employees in times of need, including:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Shelter crises, such as losing a home to fire or flood
  • Other emergencies, such as a death in the family

“This fund had a direct impact on our lives,” Robin said. “It was such a relief to have the peace of mind that C.J. would be able to get the care he needed.”

C.J. soon recovered and started his new job as a laboratory assistant at Sanford.

Today, Robin continues to donate to the Employee Crisis Fund, hoping to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.

“This fund enables you to make a difference in someone’s life,” Robin said. “We are all human and sometimes we need some extra help. Nothing beats being able to help someone right then and there.

“You just never know what can happen. For us, these funds made a huge difference in our lives.”


Are you a Sanford Health employee?

Join the movement!

Sanford Health employees can support this crucial resource by giving through payroll deduction, a  PTO donation or a one-time gift at sanfordhealthfoundation.org/giveback. Any Sanford employee can apply for funds.