That act of kindness —

the caring and compassionate touch —

reveals the best the human experience has to offer.

Matthew Lawlor

Founder, Ceca Foundation

Our Mission

To improve the human experience in healthcare communities by honoring the work of exceptional caregivers.

Our Vision

By recognizing and rewarding the work of exceptional caregivers in healthcare communities, we are able to drive not only an enjoyable patient experience, but better quality of care for patients, residents, and families. The Ceca Award Program serves as a network for healthcare communities to demonstrate their commitment to core caregiving values, while ensuring staff are engaged and feel appreciated. Research shows these critical elements lead to higher safety and security, better staff retention, and improved care delivery.

Our Story

Mary Lawlor with family

Mary Lawlor (center) with family.

Ceca Foundation (pronounced see´-ka) was established in 2013 to “Celebrate caregiver” excellence by the Matthew and Rosemary Lawlor family. The Lawlors were inspired by the exceptional care Matt’s mother, Mary Lawlor, enjoyed in her later years, and by what they witnessed as volunteers at care facilities for the physically and developmentally disabled.

It became clear to the Lawlors that outside of friends and family, those who had the biggest impact on their mother’s quality of life were the nurses, housekeepers, porters and other healthcare staff who were part of her day-to-day world. These staff members provided excellent skilled care, and more importantly, they offered compassion and companionship. This experience had a profound impact on Matt and Rosemary. They wanted a way to honor these special caregivers, and highlight meaningful acts of kindness in a way that would inspire other staff members to do the same.

Mary Lawlor WAC photo

Mary in the Women’s Army Corps

The Lawlors set about to develop the Ceca Award Program. Matt got it started, modeling the program after a staff-inspired recognition program with a public company that he founded and headed for 20 years. Rosemary used her experience and contacts with a hospital board, and with several community programs which focused on serving the sick, poor and aged. Their sons pitched-in with technology and human resources know-how. Together they designed the Ceca Award Program as a way for healthcare communities to honor their exceptional clinical and support staff members.


Ceca’s program receives widespread participation, achieves broad public recognition across departments, improves the caregiver Net Promoter Scores of partner organizations, and reduces turnover among Honorees. Typically, more than a third of staff members in Ceca Healthcare Partner facilities are recognized each year, and their employee Net Promoter Scores improved by 20% after implementing the program.

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Ceca Award Program

Ceca Award Honorees at each participating healthcare community are chosen from nominations posted on or through the Ceca Award mobile app. Nominations are submitted by fellow staff members, managers, patients, healthcare residents, and guests or family members of patients or residents. These stories of exceptional acts of caregiving serve as examples of care that go beyond required competency, safety, and security.

A Selection Panel for each organization meets quarterly or monthly, depending on program design, to choose an Honoree. Each selection panel is made up of individuals who represent the partner healthcare organization, Ceca Foundation, and the interests of patients or healthcare residents. This brings a variety of perspectives and ensures independent decision-making in the award process.

Ceca celebrates each Honoree with a public award presentation and a $250 prize. We highlight all nominations and awardees on CecaTV monitors which are placed in high-traffic areas in each facility. Ceca TV’s feature past Honorees, display recent nominations, and communicate customized program messages.

The Ceca Award platform includes:
  • Our proprietary software platform
  • Network services
  • Program marketing and operations support
  • Program evaluation tools
  • Monetary awards for honorees

All of these benefits help to ensure program continuity at partner organizations, and frees-up scarce resources for their other priorities. Ceca’s Program can be perfectly tailored for both skilled nursing and integrated care communities or hospitals and other acute care facilities.

Healthcare Partners

Ceca partners with healthcare providers of every shape, size and specialty, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing Centers
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Hospice Communities
  • Behavioral and Other Mental Health
  • Assisted Living Residences

The Ceca Award Program has been effective in care communities with as few as 50 staff members and those with more than 11,000 staff members. This flexibility allows Ceca’s program to support large hospital systems and healthcare networks. Ceca Foundation operates the program and underwrites most funding requirements, with some partners contributing a modest portion of operating costs.

We also take pride in complementing existing staff recognition programs, as we believe strongly that there can never be enough caregiver recognition. If you would like to bring the Ceca Award Program to your Healthcare Community, we encourage you to apply using our form.