Summer | 2021
Once a month, women all over the world get their period. It’s a part of life. However, one in eight women struggles to purchase period products due to a lack of income. And what’s more, over 35% of these women reports missing work, school or similar commitments due to lack of access to period supplies. “This is so fixable!” exclaimed Julienne Cherry, Executive Director at Summit Medical Group Foundation.
And it is! That’s why SMGF has created the Fresh Start Initiative, aimed to ensure menstrual equity to prevent period poverty and to provide diapers and baby hygiene products to families who need them. Cherry has always been passionate about fixing period and diaper poverty and this new program is on a course to make a positive impact. In fact, donations are pouring in. At the recent Coffee and a Cause event, proceeds from participants’ ticket purchases were used to start the initiative. Buying one ticket provided period supplies for five to six women for the entire year. In addition, a local high school senior, Ethan Kohn (son of Summit Health Pediatric Pulmonologist Dr. Gary Kohn), recently held a feminine and baby hygiene drive, collecting 500 units of pads, diapers, baby wipes, soap – basic hygiene supplies that can easily be taken for granted by some, but are in dire need by others. For example, one in three babies does not have access to a clean diaper.
“It’s part of the girl code,” explained Cherry. “If a stranger asks a woman for a maxi pad in a public bathroom, of course she’ll give them one! As a woman, it’s a feel-good moment because you know you’re helping a fellow woman out.” Cherry went on to say that you can actually purchase an entire year of menstrual supplies for a woman in need for around $25. With that one donation, you can help relieve the stress and anxiety for someone, allowing them to live their life without the fear of period poverty.
If you want to help close the gap for a woman in need, click here. Every dollar helps. 
Whether you know Meaghan B Murphy as the author of “Your Fully Charged Life,” editor-in-chief of Woman's Day magazine, co-host of Off the Gram podcast or the on-air personality behind “Life Hacker” – you know her positive, upbeat personality is contagious. Murphy was the guest speaker at last month’s Coffee and a Cause, where she doled out no-nonsense advice from her new book.
Held at the same location as the Annual Golf Invitational, 100 participants enjoyed a cocktail reception mingling with golfers fresh off the back nine. The golfers and Coffee and a Cause attendees had something in common – they all were at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in support of a positive cause. Proceeds from the Coffee and a Cause event helped start SMGF’s Fresh Start Initiative, working to ensure menstrual equity to prevent period poverty. SMGF also accepted donations of unopened menstrual supplies, to be distributed to clients at partner food pantries.
 “Menstrual equity is not something many people think about but it’s critical for thousands of women across the globe,” explained Becky Levy, Esq., President, Summit Medical Group Foundation and Chief Legal & Administrative Officer, Summit Health. “One in five low-income women reports missing work or school due to lack of access to period supplies. We were grateful for the enormous support Coffee and a Cause participants showed - all of whom helped ensure women have the basic supplies they need to participate fully in daily life.”
Make a difference in a woman’s life today by donating personal hygiene products through the SMGF Wish List.
Cancer did not take a break during the pandemic but Summit Medical Group Foundation’s (SMGF) Cancer Comfort Program has a host of offerings to help support cancer patients and their families. This spring, SMGF added a new opportunity - a six-week Writing Workshop led by Deborah Fedderly - which has proven to be incredibly beneficial.
Fedderly, Founder of WriteExchange, knows all too well the ups and downs that can accompany one’s cancer journey. She has been diagnosed with cancer twice and is now coming upon her 15th year of being cancer-free. When she was undergoing cancer treatments years ago a friend suggested she take a course in life story telling – which she did. Having been a life-long teacher (first an English teacher, then later working in the education division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) she decided to create her own writing workshop. Thus, she founded WriteExchange, dedicated to helping people grow and connect through writing.
“Getting a cancer diagnosis made me feel scared,” said Fedderly. “I had to pull upon all my inner strength to get through the physical process and the mental and emotional trials that I would have to experience. Through writing, I focused on the positive experiences, events, feelings and relationships in my life. That added to my strength.”
SMGF began offering the Writing Workshop with Fedderly in April, where participants joined via Zoom for a one-hour session each week. During the workshop, Fedderly doled out writing prompts (for example, write about a time that you zigged, instead of zagged) and participants spent time writing with pen and paper, before sharing their work with fellow writers. The prompts are similar to a mental warm-up. They’re meant to get people reminiscing, allowing their minds to be open to creativity. Importantly, Fedderly emphasized to participants that there is no wrong or right way to write; she merely encouraged them to write! She also offered suggested topics for longer writing projects for those who wanted to do more writing outside of class, and there was always an opportunity to share what had been written. Fedderly created a trusting environment in which participants felt safe to share their innermost feelings. And that, in itself, was no easy task.
“What a pleasure it was to participate in the Memoir Writing Workshop with Debby Fedderly,” said Bridget, a recent participant. “Every week I looked forward to working out prompts in class and sharing my memoir progress with the other members. It was refreshing to tap into the creative, problem solving side of myself, and rewarding to see the results. Truly good for my mind and soul!”
The benefits of the Writing Workshop were palpable. Through the act of writing about their life experiences, participants were empowered, they reduced their stress and improved their memory function and physical health. Writing helps to foster a strong sense of well-being and optimism – two things that are critical as someone undergoes treatment for cancer. But what has been truly incredible about this workshop was not just the benefit participants received through the act of writing, it was the benefits they received through the act of sharing their written work. Though none of the writing prompts were specifically about cancer, participants were building a strong connection with others in the group – a true sense of community. They were excited to hear the differing points of view. And as added benefits, sharing promotes self-awareness and heightens listening. Simply put, listening is an act of love and the participants in SMGF’s Writing Workshop felt that love and support all around them.
“There’s been a lot of research of the emotional intelligence of sharing and the positivity it creates,” explained Fedderly. “The participants usually left with smiles on their faces because they had an hour of such connections that were developed through the dynamic of each group.”
A challenging round of golf, magnificent surroundings and a good deed done sum up the Summit Medical Group Foundation’s 9th Annual Golf Invitational. Held this spring, the event went off without a hitch, with nearly 200 participants enjoying a good-natured competition across 27 holes of golf at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, NJ. Players followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for a safe, yet exciting event. After a full day on the greens, golfers gathered, socially distanced, at the annual reception and awards dinner. 
“This year, support for our Annual Golf Invitational was more important than ever,” explained Joe Finocchiaro, Vice President of Development & Marketing. “We were thrilled to host a safe, sold-out event knowing that the proceeds will allow us to help our community during such a difficult time.”
Proceeds from the Annual Golf Invitational will help SMGF continue providing outreach in local underserved communities, where the need for health and wellness resources has never been greater. From the onset of the pandemic, SMGF and Summit Health (formerly Summit Medical Group) volunteers were out at our partner food pantries, continuing to provide free medical screenings, education and 1-on-1 counseling for diabetes, hypertension and obesity, as well as free COVID-19 testing. Free vaccination events began this spring in East Orange and Union County, with more to come throughout the summer. Our Cancer Comfort Project mind-body programs moved online to safely serve patients and families fighting cancer, and are slowly beginning to begin in person, with strict guidelines in place. Though the pandemic has changed life as we know it, SMGF has remained committed to our mission and to finding creative ways to create healthier tomorrows today.

SMGF is especially grateful to the volunteers, sponsors, partners and community members who helped make this event a success. THANK YOU for your generosity.

Finally, congratulations to all of the participants. See you next year for more birdies!
As students prepare to return to in-person learning this Fall, we are organizing our Annual Backpack Drive to ensure they’ll be ready for the new school year. Now more than ever, our families need us. Help us by donating notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, markers, crayons, colored pencils and highlighters - all the school supplies that students need. With your help, we can set students up for success.
Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to learn more about this annual drive. 
Save the Date!
Summit Medical Group Foundation’s 2021 Annual Gala & Auction

Saturday, October 2, 2021
6:00 pm
The Grove, 691 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ
We’ve missed you! Join us to celebrate our 7th Annual Gala & Auction honoring our Healthcare Heroes.
Due to the pandemic, our 2020 gala was cancelled, but the needs in our community have never been greater. Typically held in the spring, this year’s gala will take place in the fall, with the same exciting revelry you’ve come to know and love. Don’t miss out on a star-studded evening, unique live and silent auction items, coupled with a divine dinner and festive cocktails.
For advance table, ticket or Tribute Journal ad sales,
contact Joe Finocchiaro at 908.277.8788 or
To learn more about the work we are doing to create healthier tomorrows for the communities we serve,