Last year, the 3,400 employees of Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s two campuses, at Mid City and Bluebonnet, kicked off a new, internal fundraising campaign in grand style.

Through donations of all sizes, employees raised $105,000, matched up to $100,000 by the hospital, to accomplish several things at the hospital.

The money raised in what’s called the “You, Me & BRG” employee-giving program that was launched in the spring of 2010 will be split three ways.

Half of the money goes to internal grants, for which hospital departments can apply.

Twenty-five percent goes to an employee assistance fund, already in place, that helps employees going through difficult life events, such as a house fire or serious illness.

The final 25 percent will go to highly visible projects, suggested by employees, at both campuses, to improve the hospital experience for patients.

“What’s refreshing is I don’t have to make the final decision. The employees do,” said Bill Holman, Baton Rouge General’s president and chief executive officer, of the projects.

By May of this year, the hospital had completed its first such project for the patients — kid-friendly areas in the emergency rooms at both hospital locations.

At Mid City, the “scenery“ carpet in the new children’s area is a bright beach scene; at Bluebonnet, it’s a colorful swamp scene.

There are soft seats and sofas and soft toy sculptures for the kids to play on.

A wide-screen TV on the wall and a game kiosk complete the settings.

“We’ve seen them use their imagination. They want to jump in the ‘stream’” that appears to meander across the floor at the Bluebonnet kids area, said Nicole Colvin, development communications specialist.

The children’s areas in the emergency rooms were put in by employees of the hospital’s facilities department, with complementary design work provided by the Baton Rouge firm of Washer Hill Lipscomb Cabaniss Architecture.

“They’re very proud of the hospital and the good care, and they see how they can be a part of enhancing that experience,” said Beth Veazey, vice president and chief development officer of the Baton Rouge General Foundation, of the employees who donated to the project.

The foundation helped facilitate the You, Me & BRG program.

“Our employees use our hospitals, as well as their neighbors, families and friends,” Veazey said.

Holman said that employees know it’s difficult to keep youngsters busy and entertained, when the children have to accompany family members to the emergency room.

It’ll be a little easier for children to pass the time now.

“You come to find out the employees are very generous and sharing. This is their home,” said Michelle Capone, medical staff services manager, who is the co-chair for the 2011 employee-giving program.

Each spring, a new employee-giving campaign will be launched, and within one year the selected project for the patients’ benefit will be complete and the internal department grants awarded, Veazey said.

“You’ve got to be accountable to the donors,” she said.

Capone and her fellow co-chair, Anne Segura, employment and recruitment manager, said they’ve seen even more enthusiasm for the You, Me & BRG program since the hospital’s new children’s areas in the emergency rooms have been completed.

“We have more ideas this year than last year,” Holman said.

“The employees see the reality of their sharing,” Veazey said.