As a 2018 Leader for Change, Fonda & John Elliot of AMFM Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers are making a significant difference in our community through their business as well as their work with YWCA programs and other community initiatives. We interviewed Fonda to learn more about why she and John give, and why the partnership between AMFM and the YWCA is the perfect fit.
AMFM: taking good care of employees, taking good care of patients
With 1,700 employees, and caring for more than 1,100 patients, AMFM is the largest privately held multi-facility nursing home company in West Virginia. In addition to the reach of the company, it excels in many measure of quality, receiving myriad national awards including from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), a program modeled after the Malcolm Balridge National Quality Award.
“Like the YWCA, AMFM is mission-driven. Our mission statement has always provided a pathway to quality. Also, we are a company comprised of 90% women. Supporting YWCA’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism is a natural partnership, and participating as a Leader for Change provides us an opportunity to support all the YWCA’s programs with one donation,” Fonda shared.
The mission of AMFM is "to exemplify excellence in quality care to our customers by providing an environment that enhances personal growth, individuality, dignity and respect."
AMFM Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers are more than just skilled nursing centers. They provide a full spectrum of post-acute care and are committed to innovation and improving the quality of life for their patients. They provide nursing services staffed with a team of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants.
“Long Term Care is very demanding work, both physically and emotionally. We set our standards high and management is very hands-on in providing the education, resources and support needed to provide quality care. Our basic philosophy is if we take good care of our employees, they will take good care of our patients,” Fonda shared.
Enjoy the detours in life
After earning an associate’s degree in nursing and certification in gerontology, Fonda served as Assistant Director of Health Services at Notre Dame College for Women. When she and John moved to WV and decided to start AMFM, they both earned degrees in Health Service Administration. Contrary to the notion that Fonda set out with the end in mind, she exclaimed, “In reality my career path was somewhat serendipitous. Opportunities presented themselves and I took advantage of them. I believe in setting goals, but have found that often there are ‘detours’ along the journey one plans or envisions. I learned to enjoy the detours. Flexibility and good fortune were paramount in my career”.
“To whom much is given, much is required”
Fonda and John have been very generous in the community, and have cultivated a culture of philanthropy at AMFM. At YWCA Charleston, Fonda served on the board of directors and spearheaded the development of the YWCA Shanklin Center for Senior Enrichment, which provides permanent housing for victims of elder abuse.
She believes wholeheartedly in John Kennedy’s remark: “To whom much is given, much is required.” She shared, “John and I are no strangers to hard work, but we have also had more than our share of good fortune. Success is not just a reward; it is a responsibility. As a beloved philanthropist and year 2000 Woman of Achievement honoree, Betty Schoenbaum, often stated, ‘give till it hurts’ should be ‘give till it feels good.’ This feels good.”
As a Leader for Change, AMFM is a top sponsor of several YWCA fundraisers, including the 2nd Annual Race to End Racism on April 28th, which supports the YWCA Racial Justice Program, and Girls Night Out on August 25th, which supports the YWCA Resolve Family Abuse Program.
When asked why supporting racial justice is important to her, Fonda shared, “Frankly, these are troubling times we’re living in. John and I are products of the turbulent 1950’s and 1960’s. I spent many summers with my grandparents in the deep South. Although I was too young to understand it at the time, I saw racism first hand. It is disturbing to see our country, our community still dealing with these same issues. The YWCA Race to End Racism is an opportunity to ‘step up.’”
Empowered women empower women
Regarding her support of Girls Night Out, Fonda shared, “The importance of eliminating domestic violence speaks to all women. Girls Night Out brings this issue out of the shadows and into the light. Providing support for victims is the first step in empowering them. It is especially rewarding to see the next generation of young women in our community continue this great event.”
As a 2013 YWCA Women of Achievement honoree, Fonda is no stranger to the love YWCA has for her. But that love is mutual. Last year, she underwrote the creation of our YWCA Impact Video, which shares stories of four women whose lives have been positively impacted by YWCA programs and services. Several of these women have been honored as YWCA Empowerment Award winners. She believes in the power of empowering women on their path to self-sufficiency. “Simply stated, a woman is unstoppable after she realizes she deserves better. Empowered women empower women.”
On behalf of YWCA Charleston board, staff and the clients we serve, we want to thank the Elliots and AMFM for their partnership in our mission and their provision of quality long term and rehabilitation care. To learn more about AMFM services, visit amfmwv.com.