UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital receives donations from IHOP through partnership with Children’s Miracle Network

As a partner of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Miracle Network combined with IHOP’s National Pancake Day on Feb. 25 to raise money for the programs and advancements the hospital provides families.


Katina Zentz

The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is seen in September 2018.

Rachel Schilke, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital joined with IHOP for the chain restaurant’s annual celebration of National Pancake Day to support the Children’s Miracle Network initiative to raise money for the kids.

The Children’s Miracle Network partners with over 170 hospitals, including UI Hospitals and Clinics, and with many businesses in the local communities where each hospital is located. Other Iowa IHOP event locations included Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, among others.

IHOP raised $140,000 for the Children’s Hospital in 2019. According to a 2019 Children’s Miracle Network impact report, IHOP has raised over $30 million nationally for the Children’s Miracle Network through various events since 2006.

Andrea Chambers, assistant director of corporate and community development of the Children’s Miracle Network, said any money raised locally is donated to local hospitals, instead of being absorbed nationally.

“It’s important because you get to physically see where the dollars are going,” Chambers said. “Kids do not have a choice for being in the hospital, so anything we can do to provide them [with] a positive experience … dollars matter.”

Chambers said the distribution of the money can be thought of in terms of a single dollar, with specific amounts of cents allocated to various programs throughout the Children’s Hospital.

For every dollar, 6 cents will be allocated to charitable care, 25 cents for equipment, 15 cents for research, 32 cents for advancement services, one cent for education, and 21 cents for patient services, according to a statistics report from the Children’s Miracle Network.

Williams Fellow through the UI Center for Advancement Jackie Yelenosky has worked with the Children’s Miracle Network for fundraising events and said that personally seeing the funds go to the child-life programs was important to her. Yelenosky’s sister was hospitalized at age 9, and recently became a Children’s Miracle Network Champion for 2020.

“[The child-life programs are] both a distraction and an action,” Yelenosky said. “It’s supposed to make a hospital feel less like one and normalize the idea of kids being kids, while they and their families are going through this hard time.”

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Young women who participated in the Miss Iowa scholarship program also attended the IHOP National Pancake event, including 2019 Miss Iowa Emily Tinsman.

As a former patient of the Children’s Hospital, Tinsman said, she had personally benefited from the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising.

“It is all about spreading awareness,” Tinsman said. “Having been a patient and being on that side of things, I now take pride in the services I can provide on this end. It’s very personal and real.”

Also in attendance were UI senior and Miss Johnson County Emeleeta Paintsil, Miss Corridor and UIHC Transplant Patient Navigator Madison Auge, and Miss Metro and University of Northern Iowa graduate student Anna Zetterland.

Tinsman said the contestants visit the Children’s Hospital during the competition, see what the money they raised went toward, and learn why it’s ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country.

Auge said her friend was a patient at the hospital, so Auge had seen firsthand the incredible advancements and opportunities available because of the Children’s Miracle Network.

“Seeing all the effort they put into taking care of not only the kids but the families makes them feel safe and welcome,” Auge said.