Clinic setting - nurse with patient

Westwood Lutheran Church gives $48,000 to JayDoc Free Clinic

Members of the former Westwood Lutheran Church present a check to JayDoc staff.
Members of the former Westwood Lutheran Church present a check to JayDoc staff.

Sharing tears as well as smiles, Westwood Lutheran Church members donated the remaining proceeds from the sale of their church. Church members recently gathered at KU Endowment’s offices at the University of Kansas Medical Center to present a $48,000 check to medical students who direct KU Medical School’s student-run JayDoc Free Clinic. 

"We are pleased to present you with this gift. It is given with our gratitude for the work you do and God’s blessing for each of you and the people you serve."

Joshua Freeman, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine is a JayDoc faculty co-sponsor with Allen Greiner, M.D. Speaking at the event, Freeman thanked church members for their generosity and described the moment as “bittersweet.” He added, “This marks the passing of a church that has been in Kansas City, Kansas, and Westwood for over 100 years.” 

We are pleased to present you with this gift. It is given with our gratitude for the work you do and God’s blessing for each of you and the people you serve.

In recent years, the congregation had dwindled to the point where church members had to make the difficult decision to sell the church and share the proceeds with organizations they had supported in the past. 

JayDoc Free Clinic was one of those organizations. Church members had learned about the clinic several years ago when a JayDoc medical student joined their congregation. They appreciated the fact that JayDoc is a safety net clinic that provides medical services completely free of charge. 

“We are pleased to present you with this gift,” said Westwood church member Clarice Oeltjen, as she gave the check to medical student leaders of JayDoc. “It is given with our gratitude for the work you do and God’s blessing for each of you and the people you serve.”

Second-year medical student Martha Schneider is one of JayDoc’s executive co-directors. “We — the current JayDoc executive board and those who have served before us — are honored to have the opportunity to carry on the spirit and dedication to service that Westwood Lutheran Church was known for,” said Schneider. “Quality, free healthcare is not cheap to provide. Thanks to this very generous gift from the church, we can focus a little less on our budget and devote more time and energy to providing and improving the care that we provide patients right here in our local community.”

In the past few months, the church members have made other gifts as well, including funds for the Lutheran Campus Ministry at KU’s Lawrence campus to purchase and renovate a building at 1421 W. 19th St. for their headquarters. 

“For the first time in our 50 years in Lawrence, we actually have our own house,” said Shawn Norris, Lutheran campus pastor at KU’s Lawrence campus, and former interim pastor of Westwood Lutheran Church. Norris said the KU center will be named “Westwood House.”

“Our members were committed to community outreach,” said Oeltjen. “Though a small congregation, we were mighty. A call for donations and/or volunteers always brought a generous response.”

KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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