Giving Back is a Family Affair for the Stutzmans

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Giving Back is a Family Affair for the Stutzmans

The Stutzman Family

From a young age, Michael Stutzman, and his sister, Annie Stutzman, learned the importance of giving to causes close to their hearts. “We were raised by my parents with the belief that helping others is fundamental,” says Mike.

Their grandfather, Jacob Stutzman, was a physician who established a family foundation that supported community efforts for the underserved, as well as educational, healthcare, and animal welfare organizations. Later, their father Walter Stutzman, carried on that altruistic work, supporting the arts, healthcare, and most recently funding music scholarship programs. Now Mike and Annie manage the Stutzman Family Foundation and are carrying on the family’s philanthropic legacy.

An Information Technology Systems Team Lead for Yale New Haven Hospital, Mike witnessed firsthand the extreme toll that the COVID-19 pandemic was taking on his colleagues on the front line. He gathered with his father, his mother, Esther Friesner, and sister to brainstorm ways that their support could help the healthcare heroes who were coping with the professional, personal, and financial impact of the pandemic. According to Mike, “We wanted to find a way to make even one day better for them. To let them know that people in the community truly cared about them and appreciated all the hard work they were doing.”

The family was introduced to Javi Alvarado, executive director, social work at Yale New Haven Health, who shared information about the hospital’s new Employee Wellbeing Program. The hospital recognized very early on that the wellbeing of employees during this uncertain time was a top priority and established the program to help address the excessive burnout and mental health challenges facing employees. At the height of the pandemic, the program included components like counseling sessions, self-care webinars, 10-minute phone meditations, stress breaks, and a Buddy Program for ongoing check-ins with caring colleagues.

The opportunity to make a significant difference for the employees who were putting the care of the community above their own resonated with the Stutzman Family. “After meeting the family and explaining the work being done in the Employee Wellbeing Program, I could tell right away that this was something they wanted to support. They knew the program was having a meaningful and measurable effect on our staff and that the impact could be greater,” explained Javi. “The generous support from the Stutzman Family Foundation has enabled us to greatly expand this vital program to all five of our hospitals.”

The Stutzmans also like helping in other ways. Without fanfare or recognition and in just the way this humble group prefers, employees on both Yale New Haven Hospital campuses have been the beneficiaries of what they refer to as “gratitude events.” These seemingly simple gestures have been so gratefully received by employees and hospital leadership that the family plans to extend their reach to the other hospitals within Yale New Haven Health. “For us, the Foundation is about being able to help our community in the most meaningful and impactful ways possible. And if along the way we get the chance to provide an unexpected lift to people’s day, that’s like the cherry on top,” added Annie.

If you would like to learn more about how you can help support the YNHH Employee Wellbeing Program, please contact Dan Weintraub at or 203.688.5902 or click here to donate today. Thank you!

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