Donor Spotlight: Susan Arney

ONEpulse Summer2016 SusanArney

In late 2010, when Dr. Reginald Coopwood, president and CEO of Regional One Health first called Susan Scheidt Arney and asked her to consider a position on the board of directors for Regional One Health Foundation [then known as The MED], Susan turned him down.

While she had great respect for the president and CEO of the hospital system, Susan’s schedule was already loaded with volunteer work, including her position as chair of Memphis in May. Plus, she “didn’t do hospitals,” as Susan describes it.

“I really didn’t want to get involved with any hospitals, but Dr. Coopwood and Tammie [Ritchey, executive director of Regional One Health Foundation] were insistent that I at least come take a tour,” Susan says.

Susan agreed to the tour and says she knew Dr. Coopwood could be dynamic and persuasive, so she arrived fully prepared for the power of his personality and eqully prepared to turn him down if he asked her to serve on the board again.

“Well, about 10 minutes into my tour, I knew there was no turning back,” Susan says. “After the tour, I looked at Dr. Coopwood and said, ‘OK, what can I do for you?’ Because I knew I had to do something after what I experienced.”

Susan says there were several factors that made her change her mind.

“Like many others in the Mid-South, I had no idea of the capabilities of the staff and the doctors at the hospital,” she says.


Susan joined the volunteer board of directors for Regional One Health Foundation in January 2011. With fellow board member Leigh Shockey, she planned the Foundation’s first gala. In eight weeks, she assembled a volunteer team and sold out the April event, which 750 people attended. Soon, the question she was frequently asked was “When is the next gala?” thus transforming one great idea into a much anticipated annual event.

Today, Susan still serves as the co-chair for the Foundation’s ONE Night gala, its largest annual fundraiser. This year, more than 900 people attended the sold-out event. Since the first gala in 2011, the event has raised over $1 million for Regional One Health Foundation. Proceeds from ONE Night save lives by helping to fund state-of-the-art medical equipment and specialized training throughout the Regional One Health system.

Susan encourages everyone to join her in getting involved with the hospital’s life-saving efforts, whether as a donor or a volunteer.

“We have men and women who are involved with the gala, but we also have so many different areas within the hospital where people have opportunities to help,” Susan says. “We turn no one down and we love and appreciate each and every volunteer and donor.”

In November 2015, Susan won the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Crystal Award from the Memphis chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She’s currently active in several other community organizations, including Memphis in May and the Junior League of Memphis.

Meanwhile, at Regional One Health, Susan says she’s excited about recent developments, as well as some new ones that are on the horizon. For instance, a new women’s philanthropy group is in the works, and the East Campus keeps evolving.

“The East Campus now offers physical exams that allow you to go in and get everything done in one place at one time,” Susan says. “Frankly, I think access to this type of care is really amazing, and I’m so glad we have this option here in Memphis now.”

» Contact the Foundation at 901.545.6006 to find out how you too can have a lasting impact on our community by volunteering or making a donation.