Expert Health Articles

How Philanthropy Impacts a Health System & Community

Karen George

Chief Development Officer
Blanchard Valley Health Foundation

Every day, donors make a difference in improving our community through philanthropic giving.

The act of giving is a choice. Donors have countless options of where and how they want to give. There is no shortage of nonprofit institutions doing good work for our community in key sectors including healthcare, education, human services, arts, culture, religion, animals and the environment.

As the lead of fundraising efforts for a local health foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of an affiliated health system, healthcare offers one of the most compelling missions, in my opinion. This is because healthcare is dedicated to fostering well-being, disease prevention, treatment and quality of life as we travel along our personal journeys.  

Having a strong healthcare system provides a solid backbone to the community, as it touches individuals through multiple phases of life. Not many of us make it through a lifespan without needing the expertise of physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, etc.

Consider expectant mothers who need optimal prenatal care to give birth to a healthy baby. Parents bring their children to the pediatrician to ensure that each child is healthy and developing on pace with mental, physical and social markers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an aging individual may lose mobility or cognitive function and require a higher level of skilled care or no longer be able to live independently. Every day, families experience heartache when their loved one is facing end of life; until they become immersed in the dignity and compassion of hospice care.  

There are also shocking health circumstances that jolt us to the core and can happen at any time, such as a car accident, a traumatic brain injury, a cancer diagnosis, a stroke or heart attack. We cannot forget the insidious arrival of COVID-19 in 2020. The global pandemic was a reminder that our healthcare workers are the true heroes who, literally, help us breathe.

Charitable donations to a health foundation support all of these scenarios. Donors who choose to support healthcare help build heart and cancer care centers, multi-specialty practices, hospitals and long-term care facilities and equip these entities with vital medical equipment and technology.

Donors are also able to support patient education or programs, which address issues identified in the community health needs assessment. Individuals may also opt to support charity care to help those who are experiencing financial hardship while undergoing medical treatment.   

Throughout my career, I have worked for three nonprofit organizations with three worthwhile missions. To this day, I am still humbled when a donor makes a gift at any level. If you donated to a nonprofit organization in the past, please know your gift is important and you helped a great cause help people. You also compounded the strength of your gift because nonprofit organizations collaborate on a daily basis. So, when you contribute, you elevate the entire community. Thank you!