Janice and Ralph Shrader
Janice and Ralph Shrader describe themselves as quiet supporters of many organizations. Their philanthropic objective is clear: allocate resources where help would have a direct and profound effect on people who—with a little help—will thrive.
Ralph, a native Floridian, and Janice, born in Philadelphia, met while Ralph was studying at the University of Pennsylvania and Janice was enrolled at Rider University nearby. Ralph later attended the University of Illinois where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering. After completing his studies, he returned to Philadelphia where he and Janice married in 1969. They have three sons who live in the Washington D.C. area where the couple also has a home. Today, the Shraders are on the go, splitting their time between Sarasota and D.C. since 2008.
Ralph currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Booz Allen Hamilton, a position he has held since 1999. He previously served as the consultancy’s chief executive officer and president. Janice has spent most of her life overseeing the healthcare needs of their son Mark, while also spending time with her other children and their families.
Together, the Shraders share many philanthropic interests including Service Source, Inc., the largest community rehabilitative program in Virginia and Janice’s most recent passion, George Mark House, a pediatric hospice in Oakland, California. Knowing their son’s medical history, and that Janice sleeps with her phone should an emergency arise, it’s hard to imagine where she would find the strength to engage in something as heartbreaking as pediatric hospice. “Truth is,” Janice responded, “I read about it and said, ‘we need to do this, these people need our help’.”
With intention, the Shraders help people who have had a setback or face hurdles that are too challenging to manage on their own. Ralph said, “These are people who, with a little help, can get on with their lives.” Janice explains further, “People can live a full and complete life without ever going to the Kennedy Center, but if you’re hungry or sick and you need help, that’s a whole different situation.”
It is this philosophy and their personal experience that inspired them to support the expansion of the Rehabilitation Pavilion at SMH with a substantial gift.
During the spring of 2020 when COVID irreversibly changed lives across the globe, the Shraders’ son Mark came to stay with his parents in Sarasota. Mark became extremely ill with a blood infection caused by complications from a previous surgery performed up north. Thankfully, after weeks in the hospital, Mark’s SMH physicians were able to resolve his medical issues—but Mark was unable to walk or talk, or even feel pain. The Shraders feared the worst.
Mark’s medical team recommended he move to the SMH Rehabilitation Pavilion where Janice said they “watched a miracle.” After only two and a half weeks of intensive therapies, Mark walked out of the Rehab Pavilion and went home.
“I can’t speak highly enough about what the Rehab Pavilion is and does,” said Ralph. “It’s the physical plant, the rooms, the design, and the people.” He went on to say, “The way they care for you—you certainly don’t want to be in this position—but if you have to be, this is where you want to be treated.”
Ralph and Janice previously supported SMH’s cardiac navigation program and the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, but after Mark’s recovery, they wanted to do more. They reached out to the Healthcare Foundation and met with Maria DeCarlo, Vice President of Post-Acute Care and Rehabilitative Services, and David Verinder, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System President and CEO. There, the Shraders learned about the need for more patient rooms at the facility to help meet patient demand. Having “seen what those folks can do,” they offered to fund the project.
“We spent six weeks in that hospital and unfortunately were back again last year. We could not have asked for anything better than what we received,” said Ralph. Janice concurred with authority, “We’ve been to a lot of hospitals. We know hospitals.”
“We have access to a superior healthcare facility here, and no one should doubt that,” said Ralph. “It’s an outstanding asset for this entire community, and supporting SMH should be a high priority for everybody who has the means to do so.”
It’s no surprise these quiet philanthropists do not care for publicity, but they made an exception based on the lifesaving care they personally experienced. We are grateful for their generosity and their permission to recognize the new Shrader Family Inpatient Rehabilitation Floor at SMH.
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