MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s not often that the West Virginia University Foundation receives a phone call from a state prison official saying a group of inmates would like to make a donation.

But that’s just what happened recently when inmates at the Pruntytown Correctional Center in Taylor County raised $1,028.80 for WVU Children’s Hospital through an intramural softball tournament held at the end of August.

The inmates organized and participated in the tournament with the idea of raising money for a cause of their choice. The inmates paid to be on teams, and even those inmates who chose not to participate contributed to the cause.

Debra Minnix, warden at the Pruntytown prison, said guards gave inmates the idea to contribute to Children’s Hospital.

“Many of the guards have had pleasant personal experiences with WVU Children’s Hospital from taking their children there,” Minnix said. “They encouraged the inmates to focus the tournament around raising money for the hospital.”

Cheryl Jones, R.N., director of WVU Children’s Hospital, said the hospital is appreciative of the money raised by the inmates.

“We are always very grateful when a new individual or group chooses to help support our mission and partner with us to provide care to our patients,” Jones said.  “Our goal is to provide high quality care to every child who comes through our doors. We plan to use the money wherever there is the greatest need – equipment, programs, etc. – so we can do just that.”

Minnix was pleased with the effort the inmates put into raising the money.

“The inmates have a big heart when it comes to children,” Minnix said. “From start to finish, it was their idea to conduct the softball tournament. They were able to promote the event among themselves, which gave them the opportunity to show leadership in helping out this wonderful cause.”

WVU Children’s Hospital – located on the sixth floor of Ruby Memorial, WVU Healthcare’s flagship hospital – provides maternal, infant and pediatric care for West Virginia and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood. To find out more about WVU Children’s Hospital, visit  

The donation was made in conjunction with “A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University.” The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.

Photo identifications: (from left to right) Bill Shahan, Pruntytown Correctional Center Program supervisor; Debra Minnix, Pruntytown warden; Wayne King, WVU Foundation president and CEO; and Bobby Nicholas, WVU Children’s Hospital manager of Development Programs.

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