A Smart Investment

Life Plan communities support employee scholarship programs

By Candace Hoffmann

Playing ping pong isn’t really part of his job description, but for Scott Felciano, it’s certainly an activity close to his heart. Oh, not because he is a ping-pong master or even an avid amateur, it’s because of who he is playing with — the residents at The Colonnade in Surprise.

Scott is the business office manager at The Colonnade and he enjoys mingling with the members of the Life Plan community. In fact, he’s felt this way ever since he began working for Sun Health in 2007. 

Starting out as a part-time server in dining services at La Loma Village, he transitioned to full time as an attendant in the community’s cafe and from there was promoted to executive assistant to Susan Davis, then the executive director. More than just a job, he enjoyed being part of the community. 

“I loved hearing residents’ stories and getting to know them,” Scott says. He also loved learning and trying new things, including advancing his education. An advantage of working for Sun Health’s Life Plan communities is the opportunity to apply for resident-funded scholarships, which are managed through Sun Health Foundation. 

The residents of all three Life Plan communities — La Loma Village, The Colonnade, and Grandview Terrace — voluntarily fund scholarships. Employees can apply throughout the year, and a committee at each location chooses the recipients. 

Scott applied for and received a scholarship from La Loma Village and the Chapman Scholarship (see Scholarly Support  at right). He attended Ottawa University and earned his BA in business administration. In 2017 Scott became the payroll and accounts payable coordinator for Sun Health Senior Living. And in April 2018, he was promoted to business office manager at The Colonnade.  

“Supporting education is a smart investment,” says Gina Ore, chief philanthropy officer of Sun Health Foundation. “You can really see philanthropy at work when you give to the scholarship fund that helps people you know to advance their education. These scholarships improve employee skill levels and help retain quality employees, which in turn benefits the greater community.”  

Neal Smith has been with Sun Health Senior Living for nearly 15 years. He, too, took advantage of the scholarship program at Grandview Terrace early in his career.                  He had been working as an HVAC technician on the campus and wanted to expand his knowledge. “I was just trying to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity that the residents had offered,” Neal says about the scholarship that enabled him to earn a home inspector’s certificate. Neal was promoted to director of Environmental Services at Grandview Terrace, a position he held for almost five years. He is now construction superintendent with Sun Health Senior Living. 

Like Scott, Neal has a warm spot for the residents. “You get to know these residents and they almost start to feel like extended family. They have been there for me, and I want to be there for them.” 

In 2017, the Scholarship Committees awarded the following: 

The Colonnade – 5 scholarships totally $10,949

La Loma Village – 5 scholarships totaling $7,298

Grandview Terrace – 30 scholarships totaling $79,309


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