Published on January 11, 2019


River Bandits’ $100,000 Donation for Healthy Families

Every spin on the Genesis Kidz Koaster ride, the River Bandits’ Ferris wheel and many of the other amusement rides at Modern Woodmen Park helps Genesis provide health services to children and families.

Over the course of a Quad Cities River Bandits season, that is a lot of spins.

River Bandits’ owner Dave Heller today (Jan. 11) presented a $100,000 check to Genesis Health System President and CEO Doug Cropper at the Genesis BirthCenter in Davenport.

“The health of young people and families is probably one of the most important missions of the Genesis Foundation and Genesis Philanthropy,’’ said Cropper. “The River Bandits continue to be a great community partner for Genesis, and a generous advocate for our youngest Genesis patients.’’

Heller noted that all of the proceeds from the Genesis Kidz Koaster, as well as a portion of the money spent on the Ferris wheel, Drop-N-Twist, spinning bumper cars, River Rocker and kiddie train at Modern Woodmen Park are donated to Genesis.

Genesis Philanthropy provides funding for Genesis Family Connects.

The Genesis Foundation funding supports Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities, Genesis neonatal intensive care unit and for Camp Genesis, a camp for kids experiencing cancer in their families.

“To see families enjoying the rides during the River Bandits’ season and throughout the year and knowing that the money spent on those rides will enable families in the Quad Cities to benefit from Genesis  initiatives is incredibly gratifying,’’ said Heller. “The River Bandits love entertaining families and creating lasting memories all summer long, and we’re delighted to contribute to Genesis efforts to keep families and children healthy.’’

In 2018, for the second year in a row, the Quad Cities River Bandits donated more money to its home community than any Class A club in Minor League Baseball, even though many of those teams play in much larger markets.

The River Bandits also ranked in the top five in all of full-season Minor League Baseball for charitable giving, behind only four AA or AAA clubs in larger markets.


“In 2018, the Midwest League led ALL Minor Leagues in charitable contributions…a fact which makes me enormously proud,” said Midwest League President Richard Nussbaum.  “A leader in that effort for many years has been Dave Heller and his River Bandits family.  The River Bandits led the Midwest League in 2018 in monetary donations.  I thank Dave for his leadership and benefaction.  I know how much he loves the Quad Cities and whenever I visit it is clear the fans feel the same about Dave and his staff.”

Donations from the River Bandits provide major support for Genesis Flu-Free Quad-Cities, Genesis Family Connects, Camp Genesis and the neonatal intensive care unit at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Davenport.

Flu-Free Quad Cities provides free flu shots to thousands of elementary school students throughout the region each fall. In 2018, the campaign protected 8,000 students and those around them from seasonal influenza.

Camp Genesis is a traditional camp experience for kids who are dealing with cancer in their family. Campers also receive education and support from Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities.

Genesis Family Connects, the only program of its kind in Iowa, is based on The Duke Center for Child and Family Health model. Specially trained Genesis Visiting Nurses provide in-home needs assessments of mothers and newborns.  Nurses also can discuss the social conditions affecting the family and talk with the family about resources and support available.

Home visits are available to every family with a newborn, beginning at about three weeks of age, regardless of income or demographic risk. The nurse making the visit measures newborn and maternal health and assesses needs to link families to
resources available in the community.

For example, nurses are able to address housing issues, breastfeeding, depression and mental health needs, substance use, domestic violence and relationship issues, child care access, parenting education, family planning, financial concerns, social support and other issues.

In Fiscal Year 2018, Genesis Family Connects contacted 1,143 families about the program. Of the total, 960 newborns and families had at least one home visit. There were 480 referrals for additional services.

Missy Gowey, executive director of Genesis Philanthropy, said Genesis Family Connects requires funding of $172,900 each year to serve every family in the region with a newborn.

One of the goals of Genesis Family Connects is to assist families in assessing the health of newborns in order to reduce trips to the emergency department. From Fiscal Year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2018, the number of emergency department visits to Genesis Medical Centers in Davenport by children up to one-year-old fell by 12.4 percent.

“This is a proven concept that we believe will benefit and enrich the lives of regional families,’’ said Missy Gowey, executive director of Genesis Foundation and Genesis Philanthropy. “We hope the public, businesses and philanthropic organizations will also envision the benefits to health in the region.’’

To find out more about Genesis health initiatives for babies and young people, call (563) 421-6865 or go to www.genesisphilanthropy.org.

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