Northland Hospice and Palliative Care changed its name to Vista Hospice after a thoughtful and lengthy rebranding process. The name change has been confusing for some Flagstaff residents who thought that perhaps the local, well-known Northland Hospice was purchased by a larger, national organization.
“No one has bought us out,” the organization’s CEO Trish Bartholomew emphasized. “We will not be ‘for-profit’ – that’s in our founding papers with the Arizona Corporation Commission.” The non-profit organization that has served Northern Arizona for more than three decades now operates with a fresh name and image.
“What started as rebranding ended up with us changing our name,” explained Marketing and Public Relations Manager Sierra Gadberry. Through the rebranding process led by Julie Sullivan of Julie Sullivan Design, the organization came to realize that it was important to have a meaningful name. At the same time, the name needed to be easy to say.
“The old name was long, and people were already shortening it to ‘hospice,’” said Gadberry. She said Northland Hospice and Palliative Care included a difficult to pronounce medical term: palliative. Palliative is defined by the American Heritage Medical Dictionary as “relieving the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure.”
According to Gadberry, who has been with the organization for two years, it is not the first time the organization changed its name. “Our founder, Marilyn Pate, started this organization as Coconino Hospice…a lot of people thought we were bought out, but that’s not the case at all.”
In fact, Northland Hospice and Palliative Care continues to remain the officially registered name of the corporation, while Vista Hospice is a DBA (Doing Business As), or trade name, registered with the state under the official title.
“It would have been a long process to change the [medical] licensure,” explained Gadberry.
It was not an easy decision, because Northland Hospice has been known in the community for 32 years, says Bartholomew, who has served as CEO since June 2014. “But, when Marilyn Pate left in 2006, there was no one to carry her passion. We drifted from her mission. I want to bring this organization back into her footsteps. Julie Sullivan Design thought that our wonderful recommitment needed a fresh look. We were tormented about the name change. But if we stand in our strength, we can all move forward together.”
“The new logo and rebranding was just the seed of it. The board is now engaged; the nurses are committed; I listen to them,” explained Bartholomew, whose master’s degree is in leadership. “I think that part of being a good leader is empowering your people. They’re empowered now. There has always been a commitment to the community, but now there is a fire. People now want to come to work.”
Volunteer Coordinator and Resource Manager Kathy Simmons agreed, “Our team is on fire with refreshed enthusiasm.”
“Marilyn Pate was part of the name-change process,” Gadberry said. “We are the same organization – the same hospice. But since Trish has become CEO, we don’t see as much turnover.” She also points to growth in Vista Hospice’s fund-raising endeavors.
“Our Run for Life event last June drew 100 more participants and raised $12,000 over last year’s event,” she said. Also, sales are up at Hodge Podge Thrift Store, which moved from Route 66 near Fourth Street to behind Vista Hospice’s administrative offices on Switzer Canyon Drive earlier this year.
“Our volunteers feel more involved with our main mission now that they are only a few steps away,” Gadberry said. “Now that they know our organization better, they have more food to fuel their passion about working at Hodge Podge.”
The organization is preparing for the upcoming Light-A-Life annual fundraiser at the Flagstaff Mall to commemorate lost loved ones during the holidays. Vista Hospice invites the community to visit the display in front of Sears Nov. 27 through Dec. 24 and to partake in the fundraiser that supports the Olivia White Hospice Home, which the organization also operates.
“When a contribution is made, the contributor is given a tag ornament to write the names of loved ones and then place onto a Christmas Tree, Menorah or Pet Remembrance Tree,” Gadberry said. “Donations of $25 or more receive a beautiful, hand-crafted keepsake ornament sponsored by Norvel Owens Mortuary.”
In addition to the mall display, the community is invited to join Vista Hospice from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13 at Flagstaff City Hall for the Light-A-Life Memorial Ceremony. The event is offered as a peaceful afternoon of non-denominational song and prayer to remember lost loved ones.
“We’re not going anywhere,” reiterated Bartholomew. “We are very financially stable. Part of my job is to make us sustainable. Moving Hodge Podge and selling that property was a strategic move, not a move of desperation.”
“When we brought in Jenean Merkel Perelstein [of Internal Alchemie] to talk with and educate our Board, she told them that we are one of the strongest 501(c)3s in Northern Arizona. We are fine financially. Twenty-five to 40 percent of our patients can be 100 percent charitable care, so we raise funds to help,” said Bartholomew about sliding fee scale that the non-profit offers. FBN
452 N. Switzer Canyon Dr., Ste. A, Flagstaff
Hodgepodge Thrift Store
452 N. Switzer Canyon Dr., Ste. C, Flagstaff
Vista Hospice Marketing and Public Relations Manager Sierra Gadberry visits the Hodge Podge Thrift Store, which is now located behind Vista Hospice’s administrative offices on Switzer Canyon Drive.
Photo by Stacey Wittig