leanor Foa Dienstag

Annual Reports

As an Annual Report Writer, I specialize in translating technical jargon into easily understood language and lively stories that resonate with your audiences.

As an Annual Report Writer, I can help your organization illuminate and communicate its mission and messages.

Annual Report Client List


Below are selected excerpts of my work as an Annual Report Writer, plus the context in which they were produced.

The John A. Hartford Foundation

In 1997 the John A. Hartford Foundation, which specializes in health and aging, recognized that its Annual Report was not fulfilling its strategic mission. I transformed their reports from dry recitations of grant descriptions into vivid narratives, and have since written seven Foundation Annual Reports.

Each Annual Report focuses on a major issue or Initiative in the form of a visual and editorial "essay" that tells a "story" in a jargon-free, consumer-friendly style. Each provides a history, context, overview and rationale for the Foundation's actions. The emphasis is always on how grants have transformed individuals, institutions and the field of geriatric healthcare. Through compelling profiles of people and programs, the vision, impact and significance of major Foundation Initiatives in geriatric nursing, social work, and academic education and training, is conveyed and illuminated.

Year by year the Foundation has raised its visibility. Today, everyone in the field of health and aging knows what the Foundation does, what it has accomplished, and how it is playing a leadership role in preparing the health community to deal with the unique challenges posed by the aging of America.

Excerpt from the Hartford Foundation Annual Report
Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training (GITT)

"Barbara’s father, George, age 90, sent home from a Florida hospital after a bout with pneumonia, was not doing well. He complained of being unable to sleep, had trouble walking and his mind was beginning to wander. His wife, age 88, called their local internist, who prescribed a sleeping pill. He also suggested she contact a physical therapist from the hospital to assist her husband in regaining his strength, but when the therapist arrived, George was too groggy to do any exercises. Barbara’s mother, overwhelmed, called her daughter, who lived in Pennsylvania, and urged her to come down to Florida to help get her father back on his feet. When Barbara arrived, she was shocked to discover that both of her parents had lost a great deal of weight because they weren’t eating properly, and that her father was self-medicating, taking more sleeping pills than prescribed because the initial dosage had not done the trick. Worst of all, the household was deteriorating and no one – neither the primary physician or anyone from the hospital - seemed to be aware of her parents’ failing condition or in charge of coordinating the multiple health care and social services they now required.

Unfortunately, Barbara’s parents’ situation is increasingly common. And as those who have dealt with the medical needs of an aging parent, spouse, relative or friend well know, a team approach is the best way to address these situations, but it is almost impossible to find."

"Since 1997, when she became the writer for our Annual Reports, Eleanor has made a key contribution to showcasing the Hartford Foundation's accomplishments. With her reliability, diligence, interviewing skills and hard work, our Annual Report was transformed into a focused, issue-oriented communications vehicle, one that is lively, humanistic and easily understood by its many audiences—the public, the press and principles in the field of health and aging."
Donna I. Regenstreif, Senior Program Officer
The John A. Hartford Foundation

"Great job! ! Thanks for capturing the soul of our Geriatric Social Work Program."
Laura Robbins, (former) Senior Program Officer, The John A. Hartford Foundation
(present) Program Executive Head, U.S. Aging Program
The Atlantic Philanthropies (USA), Inc.

New York Downtown Hospital

New York Downtown Hospital is the only full-service acute-care facility in Lower Manhattan, which includes Chinatown, SoHo and Wall Street. It was at the frontlines during the first World Trade Center terrorist attack.

New York Downtown Hospital: A Report to the Community. First Excerpt.

"THE WORLD TRADE CENTER DISASTER. Few hospital staffs have been tested by medical emergencies as often or as intensely as the physicians, nurses and support staff of New York Downtown Hospital. Nothing, however, compares with the human tragedy and drama of the World Trade Center bombing. Here is an account of the event.

Within five minutes of the massive explosion, New York Downtown Hospital was on 'red alert,' initiating a disaster preparedness plan with calm, effective precision. Additional staff were called into the hospital, and dozens who were not on call voluntarily rushed from home to offer their services.

More than 100 nurses, physicians and paramedics smoothly and efficiently treated burn victims who began to arrive in a continuous stream of ambulances, fire engines, taxis and by foot. The injured and dazed victims, many still choking from the smoke, numbered 200.

The Hospital, known for its emergency services, functioned with flawless efficiency in dispensing medical treatment and comfort to the largest single group of patients received by any hospital. Hospital staff rose to the challenge with energy and grace. As paramedic Gideon Zahler then said to a colleague at the scene, "Today we showed the world that we are the 'little hospital that could.'

New York Downtown Hospital received widespread recognition in the national and local media. One patient told Channel 2 News (WCBS-TV), 'They had it on the ball. They knew exactly what to do. The trauma unit—I'd give them 100 percent.'

Two weeks after the disaster that killed six people and seriously injured hundreds more, the Hospital honored the heroes and victims of this devastating event. Patients and staff reunited in a celebration of life at a reception held in the same cafeteria that had served as an overflow emergency room during the disaster. Former Governor Mario Cuomo honored and thanked the staff of New York Downtown Hospital for its extraordinary work in a formal ceremony.

The magnitude of this emergency was unprecedented. The level of heroism and dedication was not. It occurs every day in service to our community."

2nd Excerpt. Donald Smith’s Heart Attack

"On the morning of May 17, 1995, Donald Smith, 63, a vice president of Merrill Lynch's real estate subsidiary, was in the subway on his way to work when he began to feel ill.

"It felt different...kind of like heartburn, with nausea. I broke out in a cold sweat. I thought the smart thing to do was go into the office, then go to medical and tell them what was happening to me. I got in about 8, sat down for a few minutes to see if the nausea would go away, but it didn't. By 8:30 I was in medical filling out a form. I honestly thought they'd give me a Maalox, but the nurse looked at my form and said, 'Mr. Smith, come with me.'

"Literally within seconds she had me flat on my back, with my shirt off and an EKG attached to me. She certainly was educated and aware. She then said she ‘didn’t like the looks of it,’ and was going to call EMS so they could me to the hospital for evaluation. Without wasting a great deal of time I was in the ambulance and on my way to the chest pain emergency room at New York Downtown Hospital. Just before I left, the Merrill Lynch doctor told me my hospital physician would be Dr. Ira Schulman. She told me not to worry, I was in excellent hands."

Columbia Business School

It's a delight to work with such a thorough, experienced professional. We rarely use freelancers, but when I need a first-rate reporter to interview and profile a top executive, I turn to Eleanor. She's written Dean's Reports for us, as well as donor profiles and articles."
Nancy Freireich, Director, Publications and Web Communications
Columbia Business School

Dean's Reports, which cover a span of five years, are the academic equivalent of Annual Reports. I have written Columbia Business School's last two Dean's Reports which have focused on globalization and its impact on the School's curriculum, culture and strategic vision.

I first came up with the phrase, "The New York Advantage," while writing a Columbia Business School MBA Real Estate Brochure. The phrase so captivated the School that it became the "signature phrase" of the Dean's Report, the School itself and, ultimately, the University. It has continued to be used as a slogan and "key message," employed over and over through a variety of materials from speeches and donor reports to newsletters, websites and brochures.

For Persuasive Communications Solutions, contact:
Eleanor Foa Associates
Tel 212-879-1542
E-mail at efoa@usa.net