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Bluegrass Care Navigators Pioneer Susan Ware

In early 2017, Vice President of Philanthropy Susan Ware wrote a blog post titled “Planting the Seed: Full Circle” for our website. The title is fitting as Susan is preparing to leave Bluegrass Care Navigators this month to return to the place where she started her career more than 30 years ago, Transylvania University. Back then, she served as Assistant Alumni Director; in December she returns as Senior Director of Donor Engagement. A fourth-generation graduate of the university and volunteer on various committees over the years, Susan’s path back to Transylvania will bring her career in philanthropy and fundraising full circle.

Born and raised in Ashland, Kentucky, Susan joined Bluegrass Care Navigators (then Hospice of the Bluegrass) in 1993, following three years at Transy and five years as Director of Alumnae Affairs at Midway College. She explained that six months before she started at HOB, her grandmother had received hospice care in Ashland. Following her grandmother’s death, her grandfather chose hospice for memorial gifts because the special care helped them both so much.

“I knew if it impacted him that much it must be something special,” Susan reflected. “When this job came open, I applied knowing it was an organization that provided great care and it was a place I wanted to be.”
In her role as Vice President of Philanthropy, Susan has played an integral role in the expanding the depth and breadth of this organization through six capital campaigns, countless fundraising events, the development of the Sara Kaufmann Society (recognizing planned giving donors), and numerous grant awards impacting programs and services, ultimately touching patients and families throughout the communities the agency serves in Central, Northern and Southeastern Kentucky. In her 26 years of service, Susan recruited more than 40 volunteer board members who have provided wisdom, oversight and financial support to further Bluegrass Care Navigators’ mission and vision.

“….[Susan’s] career has been dedicated to raising awareness and funds for end-of-life care with a strongly-held belief that every life matters and every dollar raised allows more opportunities for patient and families to receive compassionate, dignified care,” said Liz Fowler, President and CEO of the agency.
During her years at BCN, Susan has served on numerous professional and community boards, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Junior League of Lexington and the Chi Omega (sorority) chapter at Transy. Her hobbies include needlepoint and anything to do with history – historic homes, antiques and genealogy. She has served as a co-chair of the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation’s Antiques and Garden Show as well.

“It has always been exciting for me to see the support from the community – grateful families, friends and loved ones, and dedicated board and staff members and volunteers,” Susan said.

Susan’s father was a patient at the Bluegrass Hospice Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington two years ago. She said the eight days were long and hard but gave her family a sense of peace and comfort because they were sure he was in good hands.

“Knowing what a difference we are making in the lives of our patients, their families, the bereaved and our donors is what is gratifying,” Susan closed. “It’s what makes me feel good at the end of the day.”
We salute Susan for a quarter century of dedicated service and wish her well as she takes on a new adventure at her alma mater.

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