Craig Hospital Foundation

In his early 20's, Ben Hernandez was on his way to a job site when the vehicle he was in hit a tree. The accident left Ben facing what would be one of his biggest challenges and greatest motivators: A spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.

If you or a family member suffered a catastrophic injury, Craig Hospital would be here for you. Your gift is extremely important. It ensures that people like Ben can access our world-class comprehensive rehabilitation services.

Organizational Overview

Craig Hospital Foundation
3425 South Clarkson Street
Englewood, CO 80113
To advocate for and provide exemplary rehabilitation care to people affected by spinal cord and traumatic brain injury so that they can achieve optimal health, independence, and life quality.

Thank you for your interest in helping Craig Hospital to maintain its excellence as one of the world's top spinal cord and traumatic brain injury facilities. The unparalleled success of graduates who have completed rehabilitation here has given Craig Hospital this stellar reputation. Your contributions ensure that people who suffer catastrophic injury can always achieve the best possible outcomes.

Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado is a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Craig is a not-for-profit, free-standing, national center of excellence that has treated nearly 30,000 patients with SCI and TBI since 1956.

We've worked with more patients with spinal cord injuries than any other single center in the world. We've gained tremendous expertise by focusing solely on spinal cord injuries (SCI) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) since we became a specialty hospital in 1956.

30,0000 patients with an SCI or TBI have been treated at Craig Hospital. Our medical staff has pioneered rehabilitation and survival techniques that have been adopted around the world. Our nursing staff is among the best in the country. Craig Hospital has been ranked among the nation's top ten rehabilitation hospitals by U.S. News and World Report for 24 years.

Your generous contributions help patients and families receive unmatched care and access to programs like Patient Financial Assistance, Adaptive Child Care, Community Reintegration, Music Therapy, the PEAK Center and more.

When you are deciding which organization to support, please choose Craig. Your generosity will help patients and their families achieve their dreams.

For our patients,

Mary Konrad Feller
Executive Director
Craig Hospital Foundation

Impact Statement

Craig Hospital's functional patient outcomes are superior in comparison with almost every national average in the most important measures of rehabilitation outcomes. On average, Craig graduates are more dependent when they are admitted, make greater functional gains during their initial treatment, are discharged home at higher rates, return to work or school in greater numbers, are more functionally independent and require less attendant care, have fewer re-hospitalizations, have higher levels of community re-integration and satisfaction with life, and have higher earning power than their national peer group treated in other rehabilitation programs.

Needs Statement

As one of the first rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S., Craig Hospital is the only free-standing facility in the country that focuses exclusively on spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) - two of the most devastating and life-changing injuries one can experience. Since 1956, Craig has helped more than 27,500 injured individuals and their families, including more SCI patients than any other single facility in the world. Annually, Craig serves more than 450 inpatient patients annully and more than 2,300 outpatient clients for health maintenance, medical-surgical care, education, and preventive care.

Background Statement

Founded in 1907 by namesake Frank Craig, the hospital started as a tent colony for victims of tuberculosis. This mission continued into the late 1940's, until medical advances eradicated the disease. Shortly after, Craig transitioned into a treatment facility for polio, and then in the 1950's, into a hospital focused on rehabilitation for people with SCI. TBI was added as a second specialty in the 1970's. Since 1956, Craig has helped more than 27,500 injured individuals and their families, including more SCI patients than any other single facility in the world.

Craig Hospital is a one of a kind medical institution, not just in the state of Colorado, but also on a regional and national level. This is because Craig is more than a hospital; we are an educational institution that teaches patients and families how to live the fullest lives possible after a catastrophic injury. Our focus is on fostering as much independence as possible for our patients, and finding new and innovative ways for them to be self-sufficient, take responsibility for their futures, and succeed in spite of surface limitations.

Craig is also a family; we seek to educate patients, their families and even the community. We nurture a family culture where staff tenure is exceptional, and our graduates stay connected, supporting one another. This strong familial culture, in conjunction with our adherence to innovative rehabilitative approaches, generates patient outcomes that are remarkable and proven. Studies that compare the outcomes of Craig patients to those rehabilitated elsewhere show that patients arrive at Craig with more severe impairments, yet 91% of them return to home, work, and school, compared to 69% from other rehabilitation centers.

Executive Director Statement

Message from the Mary Feller, Executive Director Craig Hospital Foundation:

"Return on Investment (ROI)" is most often connected to the business world, and even when associated with nonprofits, the focus is on getting the most for the money you invested or contributed. However, ROI at theCraig Hospital Foundation refers to the return of independence for Craig patients. Craig Hospital is recognized internationally for the superior outcomes our patients have in the areas of functional independence, as well as the percentage of patients returning to home, to work and to school.

Many of our programs would not be in existence but for the support of our donors. Therapeutic Recreation, our Nurse Advice Line, our research collaborations and our assistance provided to patients to purchase equipment or modify their homes are all possible through the generosity of those individuals, families, corporations, organizations and foundations who have donated. So it is true that your contribution to the Craig Hospital Foundation receives an outstanding return on investment by providing a powerful impact in the lives of our patients as they return to independence. You are an important part of the Craig family, and we thank you.

Board Chair/President Statement

Message from Mike Fordyce, President and CEO Craig Hospital:

We continue to set the bar for rehabilitation outcomes for those affected by catastrophic spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. We were recognized as a top ten rehab facility by U.S. News & World Report, as we have been for all of the years that the ratings have been published. Our patients and their families continue to rate their experience at Craig as outstanding, and for the third year in a row, we have been identified by our staff as a top workplace in Denver.
As a stand-alone, not-for-profit, Colorado-based and world-renowned rehabilitation hospital, we rely on your support to make this all happen.

Under the leadership of the Craig Hospital Foundation, we are in the midst of a major capital campaign that will help us complete the expansion and renovation of our campus. We are also moving aggressively forward with our research partnerships and adapting and bringing in the most advanced technology in the world. We are all about taking a great place and making it even better.

But when I think about Craig, what always comes to the forefront of my thoughts is the stories. Patients and families facing life-changing accidents come to Craig to begin their journey of rebuilding and, in many cases, redefining their lives. At our annual PUSH Dinner we always take the time to highlight one of our graduates for their accomplishments by presenting them with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration Award. That being said, we as a staff see 70 to 80 inspirational stories every single day.

Your continued support of Craig Hospital provides needed funds for our patient and family financial assistance fund and the many programs Craig provides that are not reimbursed by insurance. But more importantly, your support is critical to our campus plan, and our growth and sustainability that will enable us to write more inspirational stories for years to come. And for that, I cannot thank you enough.

Kirsten Steinke, A Phoenix Risen from the Ashes

On her honeymoon in New Zealand, Kirsten and her husband were in a tragic car crash. Kallan was pronounced dead at the scene while Kirsten was rushed to a local intensive care unit. "My parents were warned that, with the severity of my brain injury, I probably wouldn't live and that if I did, I would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life."

"I never accepted that I wouldn't get my life back and I don't think Craig accept that I wouldn't get my life back. If it weren't for programs at Craig that are funded by private donations, I don't think I would be where I am today."

Please give to Craig Hospital. Your gift of $100, $500, $1,000 or $5,000 can make all the difference…to our doctors, our nurses, our therapists and our patients.
Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.

Fundraising For This Nonprofit

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Don and Melba Rugg Adaptive Technology Lab

by Craig Hospital

Craig Hospital is honoring Don Rugg and his wife Melba for the pioneering role that they played in early years of treating patients with spinal cord injuries. In 1954 Don was a recent engineering graduate from the University of Denver traveling to his first job at Bell Laboratories when his car was hit by another vehicle in eastern Colorado. Don suffered damage to his spinal cord that resulted in paralysis of both his arms and legs. At the time of his injury, many SCI patients suffered from frequent, severe complications due to pressure sores, the result of being bedridden or confined to a traditional wheelchair without frequent movement and weight shifts.

However, Don would not accept this fate, and rather than self-pity, he focused his energy on creating an innovative solution to his problem. Working with his friend Bill Orr, they invented and patented the power reclining wheelchair that prevented pressure sores in quadriplegics. This discovery was instrumental for the SCI rehabilitation program at Craig where patients would to be fitted for and learn to use this chair that would give thousands the independence they deserve. Don and Melba continued their association with Craig for several decades, sometimes as patient and often as source of inspiration and emotional support to new families facing the challenges of new spinal cord injuries.

A long-time friend and fellow researcher, Mike Durham and his wife Jan, have agreed to match up to $250,000 in gifts given in Don and Melba's honor for the Craig Hospital ROI Capital Campaign. This support will recognize the excellent work of Craig Hospital and honor Don and Melba's courage, strength and tremendous accomplishments.

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