A Casual Conversation Results in Large Gift to the Foundation

Twelve years ago, in 2006, Joe and Marion Schasney were considering their estate plans and looking for a way to create their personal legacy — a way they could really have a big impact. Then, a chance conversation with their neighbor’s babysitter, Mary Ellen Klein, brought things into focus. Mary Ellen had lost her son, Danny, to leukemia 20 years before and was now a volunteer for an organization named Leukemia, Research, Life (now Kids Without Cancer). Mary Ellen’s story moved the Schasneys, and with her help, they scheduled a tour of the hematology/oncology department and Children’s Hospital of Michigan. They knew at that point what they needed to do — build a legacy with CHM through the Foundation — but as a result of meeting doctors and seeing the hospital, Joe said, “…we were so impressed, we decided to arrange a larger gift than we anticipated making.”

The wheels were in motion. The Schasneys established a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust that would secure a life income for them, and generate charitable gifts for each of the organizations: Kids Without Cancer, and CHMF. Beyond this generous gift, Joe and Marion included a significant specific bequest of $2,000,000 for CHMF in their estate trust. Their decision gave them great satisfaction, especially since Marion had waged her own battle with leukemia some 10 years before.

The two retired to Venice, Florida, and enjoyed their lives, keeping in touch with their two daughters in Michigan and Georgia, and their grandchildren. In 2010, Marion passed away, and Joe stayed in Venice, where he passed away last fall, weeks after celebrating his 99th birthday.

Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is grateful to the Schasneys for the legacy they have created to help children win their fights against cancer. The legacy they’ve created will keep them alive in the kids who receive better treatments and brighter futures!

Read the full press release here. 


Summer Recess 2018

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation combats Abuse & Neglect with the Ruth Ellis Center

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is proud to announce the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) as 1 of our 14 new grantees this year. In alignment with our new priority area of Abuse & Neglect, we could not ignore the children of the metro-Detroit community faced with these issues and have partnered with the REC to support the implementation of the Family Acceptance Project’s Family Support Model by allocating $50,000 to their cause.

The Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has been helping the LGBTQ+ youth in Detroit and surrounding cities for nearly 20 years. The center began because of Ruth Ellis, a well-respected and loved African-American lesbian woman, whose home served as a safe space for other LGBTQ+ Detroiters in need of inclusion, acceptance, and assistance. Most of the youth admitted to their Intensive Treatment Unit are referred from the Michigan Department of Human Services, Wayne County Child and Family Services and other youth supervising programs. The crucial services offered from this safe space include housing, mental and physical health care, skill building, educational advancement and job preparation. These are basic needs that may be neglected in spaces that are otherwise considered unfit, or unsafe, for the child to exist – including their home and school.

Research has shown that LGBTQ youth and young adults, especially youth of color, are at an increased risk of victimization, rejection, physical and mental health concerns, academic challenges, substance abuse, HIV, living in the foster care system, juvenile justice facilities or on the streets.

The Family Support Model, developed by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and Dr. Rafael Diaz, provides prevention and care services to “increase family acceptance and support, reduce risk and promote well-being, while increasing placement stability for LGBTQ children, youth, and caregivers, and works to reunify birth families with their children.” The profound impact of this project has been recognized on local, regional, and national scales and its implementation is also supported by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) and the Federal Administration for Children and Families.

To learn more about the Family Acceptance Project and the effects they’ve had on families of varying backgrounds, award-winning short documentaries are available here.

To learn more about the Ruth Ellis Center and their impact on the LGBTQ+ youth, visit their website here.











Quotes and information were kindly provided by the REC and the FAP

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation



Contact: Jill Nelson

Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation


The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation

A casual conversation results in a generous gift to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation.

DETROIT, July 20, 2018 – The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation (CHMF) received a large gift from the estate of Joseph and Marion Schasney following Mr. Schasney’s passing last September at the age of 99. This gift will help improve the lives of children.

Totaling more than $2.1 million, the gift was a result of the Schasneys’ conversation with a friend whose son had died of leukemia 20 years prior.

The Schasneys were so touched by the story that they set up an appointment to tour the Hematology/Oncology department at Children’s Hospital of Michigan (CHM) and subsequently established a planned gift in their estate.

At the time, Mr. Schasney said, “My wife has undergone chemotherapy and she has to take a lot of medication, but we are in our 80s and are so grateful for our wonderful lives.  I play golf three times a week and we have a great family.  One of our daughters lives in Michigan and our other daughter lives in Georgia.  We also have two healthy grandsons, so why shouldn’t we give back?”

“We are grateful to the Schasneys for their legacy to help children win their fights against cancer and other diseases,” said Lawrence J. Burns, President & CEO of CHMF. “Their legacy will live on for years to come.”

Joseph and Marion Schasney were retired from an independent gasoline company they operated in Detroit, having moved to Venice, Florida, after retiring.



About the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation

Established in 2003, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is the state’s largest funder dedicated solely to advancing the health and wellness of the children of Michigan. Through funding and advocacy dedicated to three core pillars – Community Benefit, Pediatric Research and Medical Education – the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation enables researchers and community organizations to identify and implement innovations capable of advancing children’s health.  Since 2010 we have provided more than 42 million in grant funding.  Our current areas of focus include mental health, nutritional wellness, abuse and neglect, oncology and cardiology research and injury prevention.


How trauma effects children’s brain development

The experiences children have during the beginning of their lives shapes who they become. Healthy brain development during these formative years is essential to equipping children with the coping skills they will need throughout their lives. Children who experience trauma are exposed to toxic stress which can have a long-lasting impact on brain development. These traumatic events, such as extreme poverty, repeated abuse, and neglect impact a child’s sense of well-being and can lead to harmful behaviors later in life. The most damaging of these events are categorized as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are linked to risky behaviors and chronic health conditions, but the most common effects of these traumatic experiences are divorce and economic hardship.

Almost half of the children in Michigan have had exposure to at least one adverse family experience. The stress children experience during traumatic events is also linked to the mental wellness of the adults in the child’s home, so the entire family must be treated. The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in our area to make access to mental health care services more available and affordable.

By partnering with organizations such as:

Detroit Police / Detroit Public Safety Foundation– Children in Trauma Intervention Camp

Care House of Oakland County – Breaking the Cycle of Abuse Program

Beaumont Health System – River Rouge H.S. Beaumont Teen Health Center

The Foundation also supports Kids TALK, a community-based program that serves children through 17 years of age, providing comprehensive services to suspected child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, or other forms of psychological trauma, including witness to violent crimes.

Celebration of Life 2018!

Each year, the odds of a child surviving cancer significantly improve, and that’s something to celebrate! Children who reach milestones in their treatment or beat cancer completely deserve to commemorate their victories, and that’s where the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation and Children’s Hospital of Michigan step in. The annual “Celebration of Life” helps to make these incredible moments even more memorable for the children and their families by providing a full day of laughs, games, awards, and entertainment.
Celebration of Life is a day for children and their families to let go and have fun. They get to engage in exciting activities like Go Carts, bumper boats, rock climbing, mini golf, batting cages, and throwing water balloons at their medical team. CHM staff and volunteers distributed souvenirs such as survivor shirts, medals, gift baskets, bikes, and more. The kids that wore the “I’m a Survivor” tag rang the bell of triumph with proud, smiling faces and the crowd cheering in victory along with them.

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation is proud to fund such an important event for the community of childhood cancer survivors from Children’s Hospital of Michigan. This year, 1,700 total – including 375 survivors – attended this event, some of whom shared their journey with other patients, bringing hope, comfort, and a sense of community to those feeling afraid and alone. Attendees noted they left feeling uplifted and inspired to keep fighting, and one child said what many others were thinking, “I felt like I belonged…I didn’t feel different from the other kids.”

Jamie Daniels Foundation Partnership

In the Boardroom: A Conversation on Children’s Mental Health

On Thursday, June 28th, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation invited guests to discuss the mental health and wellness of children and families in our community. The event was moderated by Paul W. Smith of WJR Radio and included three panelists; Dr. David Rosenberg, Dr. Marilyn Franklin, and Karen Gall, LMSW, CTP-C.

Did you know 1 in 5 children suffer from some form of diagnosable mental illness, with suicide being the 2nd leading cause of death in college students and 3rd leading cause of death in people ages 15-24? The first topic of discussion was surrounded on the role the internet plays on a child’s mental health.

Dr. David Rosenberg, the psychiatrist in Chief at Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center, discussed how internet addiction changes a child’s mental health.

“Social media and an internet addiction are physically damaging to the brains’ decision-making center,” explained Dr. Rosenberg. “When people go on just a couple weeks of phone detox, their brains normalize again.”

Dr. Rosenberg’s work has been featured on NBC’s Today show and he is often sought out by national media as an expert on issues of child psychiatry.

The next topic of discussion was centered around access to healthcare and the stigmas associated with getting help.

“Stereotypes are one of the largest barriers preventing people from getting the help that they need,” says child psychologist and Clinical Associate Professor at WSU, Dr. Marilyn Franklin. “Care is available but often unaffordable.”

The panelists agreed that we live in a fear-based society with too much content to process, leaving us with limited ways to cope.

The last emerging topic centered around the role a parent’s mental health has on a child.

“There are many families that we have worked with over the years and we have kept a close eye on the child from infancy to adolescence because we knew that there was a significant mental health issue within the parents or caregiver,” explained clinical social worker, Karen Gall, LMSW, CTP-C.

“We have to see if the children are showing certain behavioral issues because of what they’ve been exposed to or if it’s their own mental health issue emerging.”

The Foundation is proud to be an advocate for children’s mental health. To help us in our efforts, click here.



Dr. David Rosenberg

Dr. David Rosenberg is a psychiatrist in Chief at Wayne State University and Detroit Medical Center. One topic that was covered, that Dr. Rosenberg studies, is internet addiction in children in adolescents. His work for this has been featured on NBC’s Today show and he is often sought out by national media as an expert on issues of child psychiatry.

Dr. Marilyn Franklin

Dr. Marilyn Franklin is a child psychologist and Clinical Associate Professor in the psychology department at Wayne State University where she and her team focus on teaching, training, and research activities. She is the principal investigator and primary supervisor for the integrated behavioral health team in the General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (GPAM) division of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Karen Gall, LMSW, CTP-C

Karen Gall has been a clinical social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan for 26 years and has practiced Primary Care Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for 22 years. Over the past 10 years Karen has been part of the development and facilitation team for the Integrated Behavioral Health Team in the Division of General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.