Lifting others up; Memory of Ellen Mayer continues to support HPFC

For the Miami Valley Today

MIAMI COUNTY — When it came to helping others, Ellen Mayer knew no bounds.

Mayer, who died in June 2019, was a front desk volunteer and dedicated supporter of the Health Partners Free Clinic in Miami County.

That support continues following her passing through the Ellen Mayer and Friends of Health Partners Free Clinic Fund established at and administered by The Dayton Foundation.

This fund was created by Mayer as a way for her to help continue the work of Health Partners, an organization committed to the care of the uninsured and under-insured.

Mayer was described by Justin Coby, Health Partners executive director, as someone who would lift others up.

She did this throughout her career and following retirement.

“She was a small woman, but she left an impression on you. She was just adamant about social justice,” Coby said.

A graduate of Fairborn High School, Mayer attended Parsons College in Iowa and Sinclair Community College, holding an associate degree in social work. She worked for the Miami and Montgomery County mental health agencies, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Miami County, Miami County Juvenile Probation and the Troy-Miami County Public Library.

The endowment is a first for Health Partners. It will allow the organization to consider new avenues, said Coby and Stephanie Morris, development director.

The Health Partners Free Clinic staff will be forever affected by the work and legacy of Ellen Mayer, Coby said.

“Naturally, the endowment creates that legacy, but only plays a part in the ripples of positivity that came from her. Ellen was a force for social justice and lived her life with that ethos. Her career in social work led her to make great impact in the lives she crossed paths with,” he said.

After retirement, Mayer embarked on a second career supporting and working with non-profit organizations within the community.

“My life was personally touched by Ellen when I took the position of executive director here at HPFC in 2012. Ellen had barely given me time to get oriented to the new role before she began coming over to my office every Monday morning (unprovoked mind you!) with my marching orders for the week,” Coby recalled. “Usually, she would pose social justice questions or ask if I had ever considered such and such in my role as the executive director. Ellen pushed me to join another non-profit agency’s board and really tested my limits of capability.”

At first, he could not understand how a woman who barely stood five feet tall could have the audacity to come in and push her agenda on him, until he realized that she was mentoring him, Coby said.

“Ellen had taken it upon herself to make sure a young kid ‘got it.’ Ellen was ensuring my personal success, which in turn had a positive outcome for this clinic that she loved so much. She did this all while she volunteered in our front office fielding calls from folks in dire need of access to critical healthcare,” he said.

Mayer took her volunteer work at Health Partners seriously, and the organization benefited. That commitment continues with the endowment that Coby said will ensure financial stability and longevity of the clinic and its mission.

“Personally, I miss hearing Ellen’s feet shuffling across the waiting room over into my office on Monday mornings. I can still see her poking her head into my office door followed by the statement, ‘You know what you should do.’ Health Partners Free Clinic is forever grateful for the work and legacy of Ellen Mayer,” Coby said.

One-time donations via credit card may be made to the Ellen Mayer and Friends of Health Partners Free Clinic Fund #1547 by going to this link: https://bit.ly/2WTSWwb. Visit daytonfoundation.org for more information.

All credit card gifts are assessed a 3 percent fee for processing.

For more information on the health partners or the fund, contact Health Partners at 937-332-0894.