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Institutional Funds: These funds focus on the Samaritan Center as an institution, underwriting its mission and ministry.




Samaritan Funds: Contributions to any of these funds are used for only one purpose: to help persons who could not otherwise afford the full cost of services at the Samaritan Center.



The Founders Fund


Samaritan General Fund



The Capital Fund


Pastor’s Referral Fund



The Development Fund


Silent Samaritan Fund



The Operating Fund


Small Fry Fund





Veteran’s Fund





Jonathon Fund





Julie Fund









The Kintner-Ross Endowment Fund
The Kintner-Ross Endowment Fund, managed by the Elkhart County Community Foundation, is named for the two individuals most responsible for the founding and evolution of the Samaritan vision: Dr. Burton Kintner and Rev. R.J. Ross. Contributions to this Fund remain permanently in the care of the ECCF, which annually distributes a portion of the Fund’s earnings to the Samaritan Center. A gift to this Fund will “keep on giving” as long as there is a Samaritan Center.

About our Founders...Burton Kintner, M.D.: The “Idea Man”

When Burton Kintner was in first or second grade, the teacher asked the children to say what they wanted to be when they grew up. Burton's family lived in a mostly rural area of Indiana and he went to grade school on the Manchester College campus. Most of the children, naturally, said they wanted to be a farmer or a mother. When it was Burton's turn, he saw something both vague and clear: he said, "I want to be an Idea Man."

Burton Kintner, M.D., lived up to that aspiration: he sought, created, developed, and implemented ideas in many areas. As Elkhart County Coroner (1948-1958), he pioneered the use of tests for blood alcohol levels at the scene of traffic accidents where death occurred; he may have been the first public official in the region to advocate for the use of seat belts in automobiles.  Money and power were of almost no interest to him. Instead, he trained his formidable intellect on developing innovative solutions to problems in health and healing.

There is a “tradition of healing” in the Kintner family. Burton's paternal grandmother, Mary Walker Kintner, had come from Ireland. She was a woman who knew about plants and minerals that healed. She went into homes where illness made it dangerous to do so, and, with deep kindness, Mary delivered the medical care that was available in that era and area.  As a young man, Mary's son (and Burton’s father), Edward Kintner, was called by the Church of the Brethren to be a minister. He also studied science and education and then had a dual career throughout his professional lifetime, both as pastor and as an esteemed professor of life sciences at Manchester College.

Before there were physicians in North Manchester, people brought their ill loved ones to Professor Kintner. Purely as a scientist, he'd do the research, perhaps looking under the microscope at a slide he'd made or consulting a medical reference, and then he’d make a diagnosis. That's how it was in small towns at the turn of the century. What was unusual, though, was that after Edward the scientist arrived at a diagnosis, Edward the minister would treat the emotional and spiritual impact of the medical condition on the patient and the family. He practiced both professions in a blend that was unique, but normal and natural to him.

In the early 1960s, Burton was a successful physician--but something was missing. “I'm glad that I had modern medicine and surgery, but…” he felt that medicine, as it was practiced, was not enough. He'd come from a family with a rich, personal commitment to a broader practice of health and healing than the more narrowly focused practice of modern medicine.  Burton eventually came to understand what was missing in his medical practice, and his metaphor for it was the image of what he had seen in his childhood living room: his father was able to address both body and soul when he treated illness and injury--and here Edward was probably doing what Mary had done before him. Burton yearned to treat "the whole person, the way I saw Dad do in our front room."

With that clarity, the Idea Man began an earnest, passionate, personal search to find a way to understand how modern medicine could offer what he believed was superior medical care.  The work of the Swiss physician-theologian-counselor Paul Tournier was a major inspiration in his search. Tournier held that contemporary medicine failed to consider the person as a whole: not only the physical aspects of health mattered, but also the psychological and spiritual dimensions. Burton went to visit the Tourniers in Europe starting in the 1960s, his wife, Yi Burton,  acting as translator with rusty French. Tournier's personal support of what Burton was trying to sort out was marvelous for him.

Burton went to the American Medical  Association and got their support to pursue, under their aegis, the development of knowledge about spirituality and medicine. This approach proved unproductive, as Burton came to realize the futility of attempting to work “from the top down.” He had to find a way to create knowledge and interest at grass roots levels.  The Idea Man went to work developing interest and a commitment from his home church, the First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart, Indiana. He proposed to develop a clinic there, a place where the whole person was treated, “body, mind, and spirit.” He pursued this vision persistently, involving others in the process--Rev. William Vamos, for instance, pastor of the church. Yi Kintner, Burton’s wife, remembered a time after a church service when Burton waited to be the last in line to greet Rev. Vamos as the congregation left the sanctuary. He said to Rev. Vamos, "Bill, when are we going to get started on a real clinic here in the church?"

It was critical and fortuitous that a young minister with tremendous talent and commitment had newly arrived as the assistant minister at First Presbyterian. Rev. Vamos assigned him--as part of his duties--the task of administering this new clinic. Once the Idea Man finally had "lift-off"--a clinic in which physicians, pastoral counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists could consult and learn from each other on approaches to treatment--Burton and Yi found generous funding from the Martin family. Over a lunch at a hot dog restaurant on East Jackson Boulevard, Mr. Lee Martin asked Burton if he had confidence that young Rev. Ross could be the administrator of the project. Burton answered with a firm positive, and their trust proved well-placed, even inspired. At that moment, the inspiration, the idea, the financing, and the administration came together: the Idea Man’s greatest idea--the Samaritan Center--came to life.

That was 1972. The Idea Man continued to support the Elkhart Samaritan Center, serving as Medical Director for over 20 years. As you might imagine, he did a fine job as a physician and consultant, but his interest lay in continually bringing in new ideas for expanding and improving the care provided by the Center’s professionals.  As the years went by, another of Burton’s big ideas was validated: his “grass roots” approach worked! Other communities saw Elkhart’s Samaritan Center and wanted one of their own. These Centers sprang up in northern Indiana and southern Michigan, then in broadening ripples throughout the United States.  As of 2013, the Samaritan Network is a major provider of health services in this country, with 71 Centers and 425 Samaritan Center Offices in 315 cities in the United States and Japan. And, with fitting irony, the Samaritan Network was affirmed by the American Medical Association in a major story in their official publication.

[This article was drawn from material provided by Milne Kintner, which in turn followed from a conversation during the funeral visitation for Yi Kintner. Much of the material (the really good stuff) is reproduced just as she wrote it in a follow-up email.  Ms Milne Kintner lived for years in Aix-en-Provence, France; she is an executive and life coach, and does much of her work through regular phone sessions.  Nearly ten years after she'd become a coach, she was stunned to remember that her father had suggested to her in 1966 that she'd do a good job of helping people with their problems, and that she could do it over the phone. At the time, she was simply honored by her father's assessment – only those ten years later did she realize he'd also invented a way of working in the helping professions.  She considers her father to be her first coaching client, though neither would have recognized this at the time. One day in the 1960s, at lunch with Milne and YI, Burton was talking about his dream of finding a way to treat patients in the holistic way that his own father had been able to do. Milne leaned over to him across the corner of the table and said – coaching – "Dad, this is so important to you. You have to do this because it matters to your spirit."]

Adapted from an article written by Gregory A. Hinkle, Ph.D.



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