The McGarry family’s legacy of hope

McGarry family supports health equity, activism through planned giving

Sometimes a mission is so important you dedicate your life to it. For Richard “Rick” McGarry and Carter Hammett-McGarry, furthering social justice and health equity is such a cause.

The McGarrys have elected to support Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center with a planned gift to serve underserved populations in west Charlotte. The McGarrys’ gift will support initiatives such as mobile health units and mobile mammography units. These units embed Novant Health team members within the community, frequently partnering with local organizations to provide testing and treatment for individuals at little to no cost.

“I think it’s really important to develop a community where there are advocates with boots on the ground educating people about misinformation and assessing structural conflicts,” Carter Hammett-McGarry said. “Novant Health seems totally committed to bringing about change in people’s lives.”

Advocating for social justice and health equity has been a lifelong quest for the McGarrys. The two met at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, in the late 1970s.

“It was a time when things were changing,” Carter Hammett-McGarry said. “While training for ministry, people were finding opportunities to be more involved in social justice issues, and that’s really who we are.”

The McGarrys went on to pursue academic careers at Appalachian State University and other institutions. As a sociologist, Carter Hammett-McGarry often reflects on health equity. She first learned about the subject in seminary when a theology professor educated her on social injustice, namely unethical medical experiments performed on people of color in the 20th century.

“She said, ‘We need to be much more aware of the disparity of what white individuals can receive in healthcare and what minority groups can receive,’” Carter Hammett-McGarry recalls. “From that point on, I’ve always had – and Rick shares this with me – a deep passion for minority women’s healthcare issues.”

Rick McGarry was born at Presbyterian Hospital and spent the first six years of his childhood in west Charlotte. Today he still holds the area dear.

“When I was growing up there, it was a community in transition,” Rick McGarry said. “People of color were moving into the area, and it was becoming this wonderful community of good people living the best lives they could.”

The McGarrys have supported other Novant Health initiatives, including COVID-19 vaccination clinics and the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund, which provides financial assistance to Novant Health team members experiencing personal hardship during the pandemic. In their gifts, the McGarrys honored the late civil rights icon John Lewis. Rick recalled a moment in which they met Lewis in a restaurant in Greensboro.

“We could tell just simply talking to him how powerful this guy is in his message, so ‘good trouble’ has been our motto ever since,” Rick McGarry said. “And we’ve gotten into some pretty good trouble.”

The McGarrys were familiar with the concept of planned giving from their time in academia and see the program as an opportunity to make an enduring impact. The couple will soon celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary.

“It’s important to us for our legacy to represent a commitment to human development,” Carter Hammett-McGarry said. “We understand the value of making clear, careful decisions that will continue to represent who we are and what we care about after we’re not around.”

Together, the McGarrys have forged a deep connection with Novant Health Foundation that provides them with opportunities for strategic input.

“Through planned giving, we are able to build a relationship with a team of people who understand our values, interests and passions,” Carter Hammett-McGarry said. “We can influence policy and encourage initiatives.”

Today the McGarrys live in Cornelius, North Carolina, and they are grateful for the care they receive at Novant Health facilities.

“Remarkable care is patient-centered care,” Carter Hammett-McGarry said. “It’s mindful compassion. It’s respect and advocacy.”

There has never been a better time for you to make an impact on healthcare in your community.

By contributing to the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund, you can make a difference in the life of a Novant Health team member working to keep us safe from COVID-19. Join us.

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