BERLIN – The heads of a local foundation are looking to expand their efforts in the coming year.
In 2020, Joanie DiNardo and her three children – Greg, Madeline and Lilly – launched the Ignatius DiNardo Foundation in honor of patriarch Ignatius “Iggy” DiNardo, a local physician and hospitalist who passed away in December of 2019.
Since that time, the foundation has donated more than $50,000 to cover individuals’ medical expenses and distribute preventive care supplies such as reusable masks, thermometers, pulse oximeters, flu shots and more.
“It’s been a great first year,” Greg said. “It shows that people are willing to come together for a great cause and to do good.”
On Dec. 22, 2019, Iggy DiNardo passed away on his way to a family vacation in Mexico. Following his death, the family heard countless stories of his compassion and generosity, going so far as to reach into his own pocket when patients couldn’t afford their prescriptions.
To that end, the DiNardo family agreed to carry on his legacy by creating the Ignatius DiNardo Foundation. Partnering with the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and local hospitals – Atlantic General Hospital, TidalHealth and Riverside Memorial – the foundation is able to identify and assist patients who cannot afford necessary medical care.
“We let the hospitals identify patients that meet certain criteria, which is that they have exhausted all other resources and still need help,” Greg said.
In the last year, Greg said, the foundation was able to cover co-pays, the installation of a residential wheelchair ramp and transportation costs to and from area hospitals. And during the COVID-19 outbreak, the foundation distributed $15,000 in emergency response supplies to vulnerable populations and helped patients receive care at home.
“We were able to help a lot of patients relocate to their home and pay for their home care,” he said. “That was a nice thing to have during the pandemic.”
Greg said donations were made possible through community fundraising efforts. In November, for example, the foundation raised $30,000 through a virtual 5K.
“We were overwhelmed with the support,” he said, adding that several of his father’s friends, patients and coworkers participated in the event. “A lot of these people knew my dad really well, and it was a way for them to continue his legacy and remember him. I think it’s been a good way to turn a tough situation into one that can help others.”
In the coming year, Greg said the foundation aims to partner with another hospital and raise an additional $100,000 to continue its mission. The organization also has plans to promote prevention efforts and provide education and resources related to nutrition and activity.
“What we want to do is preventative more than reactive,” he said.
For more information on the Ignatius DiNardo Foundation, or to donate, visit dinardofoundation.org/donate.