Supporters Nancy Hagen and Andy Tecson demonstrate that, in philanthropy as at Advocate, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
If Andy Tecson and Nancy Hagen had never met and gotten married, they would probably still be admired for the way they give of themselves to help others live their best possible lives. Andy would still be sharing his legal expertise to help not-for-profit organizations and faith communities build the systems and support networks they need to fulfill their missions. Nancy would still be meeting others’ basic human needs, both physical and spiritual, whether providing food and shelter for the homeless or offering a comforting presence to grieving children through the Tommy’s Kids program of St. Thomas Hospice.
Andy and Nancy did meet and marry, however, and their union helps prove the gestalt theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Together they have provided a temporary home for disadvantaged children from around the globe who have come to the Chicago area for medical treatment. They helped a childhood friend of Andy’s develop and fund an organization—Clarke Cares—that has bought 20,000 mosquito nets to protect African villagers from malaria, elephantiasis and other insect-borne diseases. And they have given generously of their time, talent and treasure to support Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn. Just for starters.
“I’ve really grown in my sense of service thanks to Nancy,” says Andy, president of Chuhak & Tecson, a Chicago law firm that is one of Advocate Health Care’s Corporate Partners in Caring. “My parents taught me the importance of giving back to the communities you live and work in, while Nancy’s taught her that we are all citizens of the broader community of the world.”
If Nancy has enlightened Andy, he has emboldened her. “Andy’s cheerful and energetic and not afraid of trying anything,” says Nancy, a one-time accountant turned social entrepreneur whose many philanthropic ventures include founding Hope’s Front Door, a Downers Grove-based ministry that assists community members in financial crisis. “A sense of having no limitations has opened up a lot of things in my mind.”
Open Minds, Open Doors
One of the first things it opened up was the couple’s Downers Grove home. When their sons Luke and Matthew were young, the Hagen Tecsons became a second family to Hector, a boy from Dominican Republic, following his brain tumor surgery at what is now known as Advocate Children’s Hospital – Park Ridge. The family ultimately took in a total of four children at different times, for periods ranging from six weeks to six months. “Nancy has a compassionate heart, and she’s always had a global perspective,” Andy says.
They have also opened their home for some of the many fundraising concerts they’ve organized: Andy assembles a group of jazz musicians including himself, while Nancy serves as conductor and event manager. Both accomplished instrumentalists—Andy composes jazz for the church and plays the saxophone and Nancy plays the oboe and piano—the couple met when they each were part of the music ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest. Their shared passion for music has strengthened not only the bond between them, but also the Church Jazz Ministry of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Chicago, among other churches and not-for-profit organizations.
One of those organizations is the Heart and Vascular Institute at Christ Medical Center, which was the beneficiary of a combination house concert–presentation on advances in cardiac surgery they hosted. Andy and Nancy have had many connections to Advocate Health Care many times over the years—among other things, Andy provides legal counsel to the system—but they had no personal experience of Advocate’s hospitals in Oak Lawn until Vijay Singh recruited Andy to serve in a volunteer leadership role there.
“Andy is kind of person who gets his energy from touching other people and helping them achieve their potential,” says Vijay, a business associate of Andy’s who has served as chair of the medical center’s Development Council. “It is not work for him—he has a passion for it.” That desire to enable others achieve their potential also inspired Andy and Nancy to make a generous charitable donation to help start a pediatric autism program at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn.
Rooted in Faith
Underneath their countless hours of service, their charitable giving and their enthusiastic championing of causes within their extensive social and professional circles lies a firm foundation of Christian faith. That faith draws them to Advocate Health Care’s mission, which is rooted in a fundamental understanding of human beings as created in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect.
“Advocate’s spiritual and emotional dimension is huge,” says Nancy, who wishes that her family had received that kind of support when her father passed away from multiple myeloma.
Andy agrees. “The concept that God has power to be a healing force in the world really resonates with us,” he says. “It goes beyond the miracle of modern medicine to become something truly transcendent.”
The faith that sustains their commitment to Advocate also explains their joyful spirits. “Andy and Nancy bring a quality of compassion, love and humanity that inspires and transforms others,” Vijay Singh says. “They’re a wonderful team.”
Andy Tecson was honored as Outstanding Community Leader at the Advocate Christ Medical Center 2014 Salute Gala. Watch the video.