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Hospital Custodian Starts Fundraiser With Pennies

January 12, 2021

Launching a charity fundraiser can be challenging, especially in terms of getting people to donate. However, a California hospital custodian’s idea to collect pennies from fellow employees for charity has been successful, KNBC-TV reports.

Phillip Ingram, a custodian at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, believed workers at the hospital could do more to help others. In 2018, Ingram and his brother came up with a fundraising idea called Powerful Pennies in which they collected pennies from co-workers and donated the money to individuals who needed help.

Ingram expanded his plan from collecting spare change to asking the hospital’s 6,500 employees at facilities in Irvine, Newport Beach, and Costa Mesa to donate US $0.50 from their paychecks, the Orange County Register reports. Ingram first wrote a letter to Hoag management about this plan in 2019 but hesitated to send the letter until he told a few friends at work about it a year later.  

Ingram’s idea soon reached Jan Blue, Hoag’s senior vice president and chief administrative officer. She started a payroll deduction for Hoag employees ranging from $ 0.50 to $5 and about 300 employees have signed up to donate. They raised $1,400 during the first week of December. All money raised will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley and the YMCA of Orange County.

“I immediately loved Phil’s idea because I could tell it came from the heart, and that he clearly felt very passionately about it,” Blue said. “Right now, during the pandemic, Hoag employees really want to make a difference and contribute in some meaningful way beyond what they are doing in caring for our patients. Phil’s inspired idea lets all of us do so together.”

Ingram, now known as the “Penny Man,” told KNBC-TV he hopes the program survives longer than him. “I’m just happy to do anything for anyone,” he said.

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