An annual charitable foundation again came through for Jacobi Medical Center.
The John Gilder Memorial Scholarship Fund, which hosts a lawn party each year on City Island, made a donation of $1,000 to the hospital to use towards the purchase of additional recreational equipment for the outpatient substance abuse treatment program lounge.
A spokesman for Jacobi said that the grant, matched by the Jacobi Auxiliary approximately dollar for dollar, was used to buy a flat screen television, an air hockey table, resurface a pool table and make other improvements to encourage program participants.
“The patients at Jacobi are deeply appreciative of the Gilder donation,” a spokesperson for the hospital said, adding that the donation exhibited the type of kindness that Gilder showed during his life.
The scholarship fund was started in memory of a young man who grew up on City Island and passed away at a very early age.
It has fully endowed scholarships that go to local youths who attend Fordham University, as Gilder did when he passed away suddenly at the age of 23 in 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Once the scholarships were fully endowed, the fund looked for other causes to support, initially helping City Island Little League teams, said Jack Jokinen, who runs the charity with Gilder’s father Mark Gilder.
Jokinen became aware of the deaths of several of John’s former friends and acquaintances when he sent out the yearly lawn party invitations for the July event.
“We wanted to help the community and give directly back to the people who are giving this money,” said Jokinen.
For several years, early in the planning Jokinen would send out ‘save the date’ invitations to the party and then follow up in June, he said.
“We found for three or four years in between the time we sent the save the date and the follow up, we had to remove people from the list because they overdosed and died,” said Jokinen.
Jokinen said that he reached out to an old friend who was fighting a drug addiction, and he suggested repairing the recreation room at Jacobi’s substance abuse program.
His friend said the recreation room was really ‘beat up,’ and as a result, some of the people being treated were leaving the building and getting into trouble instead of relaxing, said Jokinen.
During his life, John urged his friends to refrain from drug use, said Jokinen.
“The motivation and where it ties into to John is these were his friends,” said Jokinen. “John wasn’t a drug user and before he passed he told friends who were that they were ruining their lives.”
He added: “This is something we think John would support and be proud of.”
Additionally, the charity sponsored Naloxone, a substance that serves an antidote to opioid overdose, training on City Island.