Steve Mariucci

Steve Mariucci has been a great friend of Beacon House from the very beginning. When his mother was terminally ill, he and his family could’ve stayed anywhere. They chose to stay at Beacon House, so they could be close by. Steve is the campaign chair of Beacon House’s capital campaign ‘Legacy of Love’, the effort to raise funds for a new Beacon House near the relocated hospital.

Steve is an Upper Peninsula native born and raised in Iron Mountain, MI. While attending Northern Michigan University, he quarterbacked the team to the NCAA Division II National Football Championship in 1975. He began his coaching career at NMU before moving to Cal State Fullerton in 1980.Steve held multiple positions working with the Los Angeles Rams as a quality control coach, and then went on to coach at the University of California, Berkeley as the offensive coordinator of the Golden Bears before being appointed as the quarterback coach for the Green Bay Packers. Considered a leading candidate for the several NFL coaching positions, Steve was hired as the head coach for the San Fransisco 49ers.While with the 49ers, the team made the playoffs both seasons with the second biggest comeback playoff victory in NFL history in his second season.

In 2003, Steve was named Lions’ 22nd head coach, earning him the NFL’s highest coaching contract at the time. Mariucci is one of 13 head coaches since the AFL NFL merger in 1970 to lead his team to a division title in his first season. He also established an NFL mark for consecutive wins by a rookie head coach with an 11 game winning streak.

After Detroit, Steve was hired by the NFL Network as an analyst on the Emmy nominated show, NFL GameDay Morning, as well as NFL GameDay Highlights, and NFL GameDay Final. Mariucci is also part of the NFL Network;s Thursday Night Football pregame, halftime, and postgame shows.

In 2009, Mariucci was recognized for this work with his first Sports Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst category. Steve launched his own show in 2011 on the NFL Network, ‘Game Changers’, offering an inside look at the lives of the current season’s top draft prospects.

Steve and his family formed the Mariucci Family Foundation to promote and advance his philanthropic works, and to involve his family in those endeavors. Beacon House has been the recipient of the Marriucci Family’s generosity, with Steve serving as an honorary board member and financial donor. The foundation has donated over $75,000 since 2011 before Steve made the first $150,000 pledge to the new capital campaign ‘Legacy of Love’.

Tour the gift shop with Samantha Elizabeth
Through social media and her blog at, Samantha Elizabeth features all the things she holds dear to her heart; her faith, family, cooking, photography, and travel. Samantha stopped by to visit Hospitality Gifts for a tour, and to show you how this is so much more than a gift shop.
Hospitality Gifts at UPHS Marquette is a boutique, jewelry store, gift shop, and a shopping sanctuary for hospital patients’ families. It’s a hidden gem you may not have ever been to, so Samantha toured it with UP Hospitality House CEO, Mary Dowling, to talk about some exclusive merchandise you might not be able to get anywhere else. Shopping here isn’t only a great way to make fashion statement, the proceeds from your purchase make significant change in people’s lives.Hospitality Gifts has a long, wonderful history of caring and supporting the employees, patients and families at UP Health System.

We were the Hospital Gift shop from the early Marquette General Hospital days, run by a combination of staff and volunteers. The MGH Auxiliary played a significant role in getting us started and keeping us going, and when MGH became a Duke LifePoint hospital, we fortified our non-profit status by becoming one of the family of services of the Hospitality House of the UP (HHUP). Many of the volunteers in our organization have been with us since the beginning, and take great pride in how we’ve grown and evolved.

We are so grateful to all who support us through your purchases, and those who have given their time to help run this shop to raise money for so many great causes!

There is a gift in every purchase for patients and families… Over the years, funds have gone to provide Heart Pillows for open heart surgery patients to hug and cough during recovery, clowns to visit children, treats for dinner trays, a Christmas Wish List for various hospital departments, The Wig Salon (providing complimentary wigs for cancer patients) and Beacon House.

Now, our organization that raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years to support Beacon House, is in the same family with them. All the proceeds from sales, above and beyond our operating costs, go directly to run the Wig Salon and Hospitality Programs of HHUP, which include the 11 Hospitality Rooms right in the hospital, and Beacon House with its 33 guest rooms, just two blocks away.

We are a private, non-profit organization, under the umbrella of Hospitality House of the UP (HHUP). All proceeds from sales after operating expenses help to fund Beacon House and the Hospitality Rooms at the hospital in Marquette.

Culinary Students Support Beacon House with Annual Soup or Chili Challenge

Proceeds from fundraiser to benefit “Fresh Food Program”

MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Culinary Students of NMU will host their annual Chili Challenge from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 in the Jacobetti Complex Commons on the north campus of Northern Michigan University.

The proceeds from this tasty event will benefit the Beacon House, specifically the Fresh Food Program which is to provide fresh, healthy food for guests of Beacon House.

Over the years CSNMU has raised thousands of dollars for the Beacon House. This year, the organization hopes to contribute to this cause. Any local food establishments or individuals, as well as amateurs who might think they have a great soup or chili recipe can participate.

CSNMU President Piper Miedmea said, “We are so excited for the event this year! At CSNMU, we work together as a team to promote and execute successful culinary functions and special events. This event is great for us to give back to the community!”

A wide variety of professional and amateur soup or chili entries are prepared for the public to sample and vote on, and teams of local judges also evaluate each category. Prizes are awarded for the best use of heat and best overall in the chili category and then for the most original and best overall for the soup category. CSNMU is seeking soup and chili entrants, with a deadline to enter of February 6, 2017. Those who like chili should mark their calendars to come and enjoy a wide variety of chili samples for $7 ($5 for students with ID).

“Our Annual, Memorial Chili Challenge has continually been a great fundraiser with all of the proceeds benefiting the Beacon House’s Fresh Food Program,” said Miedema.

This event has drawn as many as 24 chili entries in the past, with some very unusual samples including kangaroo chili, a vegan spin, breakfast chili, Caribbean, and sweet & sour chicken, as well as many more variations of traditional entries. Come give your taste buds a treat as we come out of our UP winter!

Contact CSNMU President Piper Miedema or CSNMU Faculty Advisor Christopher Kibit for more information on entering a chili. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Piper Miedema at (419) 357-6324 or email at

Beacon House is a privately run non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the medical care community to ensure patient access to care. Beacon House’s mission is to operate a safe, supportive and compassionate hospitality house for patients receiving medical care and for their loved ones.

Culinary Students of NMU (CSNMU) is a group of students that work alongside, and in support of, community and student organizations. CSNMU work together as a team to promote and execute successful culinary functions and special events.

Serendipity! Surprise donations to Beacon House go immediately toward a need

Dec. 20th —

This is becoming a day like no other this year.

At 9:00 in the morning, the Riverside Auto dealership showroom was jammed with people. Huge sale? Nope… huge effort.

I was surrounded by local charity executives and we were gathered together to receive donations from the Dagenais Foundation. As we stood by the Christmas tree with our arms around each other to “tighten the shot,” I literally felt the love these amazing people have for our community. It was so humbling to be amidst the group of leaders who care for the homeless, the children, the mentally disabled, the strays and those less fortunate in some way.

We all walked away with a check and a beautiful note about how a small foundation joined forces with the dealership staff to choose where to give for Christmas. Small foundation? More like giant hearts and philanthropic leadership.

At 10:30 am we were standing on the loading dock of the Cherry Creek Market with Cindy and Mike Schwemin, preparing to load 29 cases of food into my husbands truck to bring back to fill the help-yourself pantry in the kitchen at Beacon House.

Our cupboards were close to bare, and the gift of non-perishable goods through the TV 6 Canathon couldn’t have come at a better time! We now have Spaghetti-O’s and cereal for the children who stay with us, and cases of corn, green beans, tomatoes and other wonderful side dishes to go with a beautiful donated ham and turkey.

While we were loading the truck, we learned that Cindy’s father recently passed away and this would be a different kind of Christmas for them without him. I marveled at how she channeled her grief into an outpouring of love for the strangers who are our guests. That’s how they do things there at Cherry Creek Market.

On my way back to Beacon House, my cell phone rang. Michele Butler was calling to let me know that the Rotary Club had received my grant request and they’d be delivering a $2000 gift card from Econo Foods from the proceeds from their summer golf fundraiser. We’d be able to shop for whatever the pantry needed when it starts to get low again.

When I walked in the door, the mail had come. The daughter of a guest from Delaware had sent a check for $1000, “to be used as needed.” Our electric bill came too, and it was exactly $1000 more than last month. I’m beginning to realize that I don’t have to worry about everything here anymore, because some wonderful person somewhere who has been touched by us or experienced a crisis of some kind will be right around the corner offering their help. ‘Cause that’s how this beautiful world of ours works.

After wiping my tears and thinking it was time to “get back to work,” Cynthia DePetro walked in the door with a dozen students from Marquette Alternative High School. And an enormous box of socks. During the coldest time of the year. When our guests need them the most.

I can’t even count how many pairs of socks were in the box, but it was at least 2 feet by 2 feet (pardon the pun) and full to the top. The joy on the student’s faces was perfectly reflective of this season of giving, and they truly seemed to love making this delivery.

As we were hugging good-bye, a young boy walked out of his family’s guest room into the hallway with bare feet. I stopped him to gently remind him that our house rules require everyone to cover their feet when walking around the house. His face fell when he said that he didn’t have anything to wear until the laundry was done.

Cyndi and I looked at each other and broke into grins, and said, “Well, you do now!!” and took him to shop in the box.

As I turned to go back to my office, Coach Gordy LeDuc walked in and handed me an envelope. “Kay and I wanted to help. We feel so fortunate, and believe it’s important to share,” he said with a sweet smile, and turned and left.

It’s the middle of the week. And it isn’t Christmas Day. But it sure feels like it is here at Beacon House today.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

Event | Christmas Crazy Days Sale

MARQUETTE — Our gift shop has never had so many items on sale at once. Remember Crazy Days Sale? We’re bringing it back for Christmas with huge discounts at Hospitality Gifts in the UPHS – Marquette lobby. Always and every day, proceeds from Hospitality Gifts and ‘Your Coffee for a Cause’ go towards Beacon House.

This year get 50 – 75% off an entire table of gifts. We’re calling it the ‘Crazy Table’! Get 50% off tops, 40% off coats, 30% off baby clothes, 25% off candles and Christmas items, and 20% off purses, accessories, jewelry, cards, nuts, plush items, coloring books, sundires, and UPHS logo items.

The first 25 customers in the door will draw for extra discount coupons and gift cards, and two lucky winners will draw $50 gift cards each day.

The sale takes place Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 19, and 20 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Hospitality Gifts in the UPHS Lobby.

Happy Holidays! Happy Shopping!

It takes a village, Beacon House volunteers can’t stop volunteering, even during a volunteer party

Nov. 9th

This is how we roll at Beacon House on the day to celebrate our Volunteers:

First it started snowing, and the volunteer shoveler came. Then the volunteer kitchen help arrived to bake the pies. The volunteer decorating team took on the job of setting up a lunch buffet while the volunteer cleaners took the trash to the dumpster and swept up the floor. The volunteer cashiers from the Gift Shop came and passed out cookies and other sweet treats.

It seems our volunteers can’t stop volunteering.

We enjoyed some great laughs, holiday music and some yummy snacks, and then… the volunteers insisted on cleaning up.

For those of us who work at Beacon House and in the Hospitality Rooms, it was supposed to be a day for us to thank the incredible people who help us keep helping people. But when your hearts are made of gold and your passion is caring for others, I guess your need to be thanked isn’t as great as your need to serve.

And that’s how they roll at Beacon House. Simply amazing.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

When it hits close to home, our thoughts are with Carissa

December 2, 2016

My thoughts keep returning to Carissa, our evening hospitality desk attendant. Since Carissa has been with us, we’ve received more guest thank you notes and special messages on donation envelopes than we ever have in the past.

When we told Carissa the most important part of her job was to make sure that people felt welcomed and comforted when they arrived at Beacon House, she took it to a whole new level. She taught us all how to just open up and let love flow.

She has the biggest smile and gives the warmest hugs. She remembers everybody’s name and is whom everyone seems to tell their story to, about why they’re here and what they’re most afraid of.

A few weeks ago, Carissa got an urgent call to go immediately to England where her husband is stationed in the Army. We don’t know much more at this time, but we do know the diagnosis is Stage 4 Cancer from a Brain Tumor.

There is no Beacon House where Carissa is. And all I can think about is, “Who is comforting her?” There is no “Carissa” to tell her nighttime fears to, and to offer a consoling hug.

In her absence I’m appreciating her incredible love for Beacon House and what we do. And I’m wishing that she could know the same lightness of heart that others have felt after a visit with her. We’re paying it forward, Carissa. We’re walking in your shoes.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

Mother’s mind at ease after being terrified of daughter leaving hospital

December 7th, 2016

When I met Denise, we were standing in the middle of the hospital gift shop. TV 6 had just wrapped up a segment on the shop and how the proceeds from all the sales supported Beacon House. Denise was eager to tell me how much she appreciated the work we do at Beacon House and how it made all the difference in the world to her and her mother.

When Denise got the call downstate that her mom had a stroke, she threw her clothes into a suitcase, jumped in the car and drove through the night to be with her in the hospital. Holding her hand and stroking her hair, she promised her sweet mother that she’d be nearby and that she would never be alone. When her mother pleaded with her not to go over to Beacon House that night because it seemed so far away, Denise made the decision to just sleep in the chair in her mom’s hospital room.

A nurse who was tending to her mom overheard the distressing conversation and called our Hospitality Rooms to see if there was a bed for Denise. She told me, “I knew my mom was uneasy and my being there brought her great comfort. The stroke certainly affected her reasoning, but she seemed terrified of me leaving the hospital. Being able to stay just a few floors away was such a relief. I was able to get some sleep and something to eat, and be right back with her.”

There is no one else in the world like a mother. They’ve spent their entire lives taking care of us, and when they need us in return, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for them. Knowing that we helped this small family be together means everything to me. I’m so grateful that Beacon House Rooms in the hospital kept one mother resting peacefully knowing her daughter was nearby.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

Legacy of Love | Capital Campaign

When Steve Mariucci helped launch the Legacy of Love campaign this past summer, he did it with his personal pledge of $150,000 to help us build a new Beacon House! He’s been working with us to firm up our plans to get new land donated next to the new hospital, sell our existing building and break ground to build a new Beacon House. Our new house will be designed to be a Hospitality House, from the ground up!

Every room will provide barrier-free access, and we will create a floor plan that is welcoming for families and children. Using U.P. contractors and donated services, we hope to be able to open our doors simultaneously with the new Duke LifePoint hospital in 2018. All of this is dependent upon the success of our campaign. The funds and pledges we raise between now and the fall of 2017 will dictate the size and scope of the new Beacon House. This grass-roots campaign includes every U.P. community coming together.

We are asking you, every church, business, organization, past guests and everyone who believes in this cause to help us reach our goal.


Will you join us and leave a Legacy of Love for our U.P. neighbors and families by making your pledge today?


Guest of five weeks donates TV to watch Packers at Beacon House

December 4, 2016

The Christmas tree in the lobby is so warm and inviting. The fireplace is lit and there are two guests reading books; near enough to be companionable, but respecting each other’s space.  The registration desk is close by, so they see new guests come in as they arrive, and offer their greetings. “You’re going to love the kitchen,” says one of the guests to a new arrival. “There’s always a pot of coffee on!” I smiled as I heard the second guest, putting down his book and saying, “And if there isn’t, let me know and I’ll make a fresh one!”Walter, who looks just like he arrived from Finland, is a serious football fan. Shortly after he came to spend five weeks with us while receiving cancer treatment, he determined that our old television in the guest lounge downstairs was in need of an upgrade, and went to Walmart. An hour later, the Packer’s were playing on the 55” set, and Walter and two other cancer patients were cheering them on.

For Walter, it’s as much about feeling at home as it is about getting the cancer care he needs. When your body is fighting, your soul needs comforting. He loved that he could give something back to the people who were helping him get through this tough time in his life. It gave him a sense of connection and ownership here.

And the Packers won.

Mary Tavernini Dowling, Beacon House CEO

Walter was also featured in our latest promo video, for his great beard…




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Beacon House operates on a donation basis and guests are expected to contribute at a level that is affordable for them.