Lynda Baxter’s journey with Providence started over 20 years ago through a simple desire to serve her community. “A friend suggested that I reach out to Providence to see if they had any volunteer opportunities. I did, and the rest is history,” she smiled.

For the next six years, Lynda worked as a volunteer for the Providence Food Bank, focused on forging strong connections with some of Seattle’s more vulnerable populations. “We actually formed friendships with these people, and through those friendships we built trust,” Lynda said. “Folks started opening up to us about the challenges they were facing, which allowed us to address those barriers.”

What struck Lynda most in her volunteer experience was Providence’s commitment to advocacy. “I’ve always had a strong desire to give back, and I could see that the people of Providence were cut from the same cloth,” she explained. “I thought, ‘we’re gonna change the world, one person at a time.’”

From volunteer to employee to caregiver

Lynda joined Providence as an employee for the same reason she volunteered—to impact people’s lives in a positive way. Putting her degrees in public health and business administration to good use, Lynda started in HR, then took a role in the Nursing division. From there, she worked in Clinical Program Services for eight years before stepping up to become the Group VP for the Digestive Health Institute and Cancer Institute in Renton, Washington.

In the midst of all this, Lynda’s elderly parents started needing a little extra help. The solution seemed like a no-brainer—her parents would just move in with Lynda and her family. “It started as, ‘Grandmas are going to come live with us, and it’ll be great!’” she said. But as her mother developed advanced dementia, the demands on the family started to grow. In her search for support, Lynda realized that the answer was right in front of her: the Institute for Human Caring (IHC) at Providence.

“I didn’t need hospice care, but I did need advice figuring out how to keep my parents at home as long as possible and help them live with dignity and wellness,” she said. The IHC was able to connect Lynda with everything from geriatricians to respite services whenever she needed a break. “Those kinds of resources can be hard to find on the internet, but I found them with IHC,” Lynda said. “They’re really filling a gap in the community.”  

Compassionate care for everyone

Another cause dear to Lynda’s heart is health equity, as she also has a family member in the LGBTQ+ community. “I’ve seen them struggle to access health care, and I know how anxious they feel about going to the doctor and wondering if they’ll be accepted,” Lynda said quietly. “The IHC provides essential information and education to the [LGBTQ+] community to help ensure that they’re treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.” 

Empowering IHC’s purpose

The more Lynda learned about the Institute for Human Caring’s mission, the more compelled she felt to support them.  “It’s really world-class care with a human connection,” she explained. “Most people associate the IHC with hospice care, but what they do is about more than death and dying. It’s about living. That includes helping someone live as their best, most authentic self, or helping loved ones live with dignity and wellness as they age.”

Lynda’s gift started as a one-time donation, but she quickly decided to extend her giving to include a portion of every paycheck. She says it’s the least she can do for the organization that’s done so much for her and her family.

“My life has been about helping the community, but in this case, I’m the one who needed help,” she smiled. “This is my way to give back so the IHC can continue to touch the hearts of others and make a difference.”

A partner in your corner

As Lynda points out, eventually we’re all going to need help in one way or another, whether we’re caring for an elderly family member, part of a vulnerable population, or seeking hospice services. That’s why the Institute for Human Caring was created—to provide compassionate care to those who need it most. It’s also why Lynda encourages others to join her in supporting the IHC.

“Every single one of us will struggle at some point,” she said. “When that happens, you’re going to want to be able to partner with an organization who can help you figure out the tough problems. That’s what IHC does—they walk beside you, and they let you know that you’re not alone.”

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