Kris Peterson is a familiar face on Madonna’s Lincoln Campus. Rain or shine, Kris can be seen almost weekly accompanying Madonna residents to doctor’s appointments, assisting with recreational activities, and volunteering in the Madonna Foundation office.
Volunteering at Madonna runs in her family. Kris’ mom, Mary Zender, was a dedicated welcome desk volunteer for many years. When Kris’ father, Bob, was a patient and resident at Madonna, Kris discovered many ways she could get involved as well.
However, time isn’t the only thing Kris gives to Madonna. She is continually finding new ways to invest in Madonna's mission through generous gifts that impact patients, residents and staff.
Kris and her late, husband, Don, helped fund the Zender Meditation Garden in memory of her parents. Located near the Madonna chapel, the garden is a welcome respite for patients and employees alike.
While accompanying residents on one of Madonna’s wheelchair accessible vans, Kris noticed that staff members would continually struggle with the old, high mileage van. The amount of wheelchair positions in the van also limited the number of residents who could participate in outings.
“Kris came to me with the idea to donate a new van that could accommodate more residents,” said Suzanne Sughroue, director of Development, Madonna Foundation. “I was completely overwhelmed by her generosity.”
One vehicle Kris uses for her charitable giving is her IRA. “I feel very blessed that I do not need an IRA distribution to live on so I am able to donate it to Madonna,” Kris explained. She said she enjoys seeing her funds at work when she volunteers. Additionally, Kris has made significant gifts in support of expanding research technology to Madonna's Omaha Campus and helped kick-start a special staff recognition fund.
Kris also named Madonna in her estate as the beneficiary of her IRA. "Kris' generosity honors her family's deep connection to Madonna while providing a future gift that will impact the children and adults we serve into perpetuity, Suzanne said. We are so grateful to Kris for her generous gifts of time, talent and treasure.”