The Family that Gives Together

January 30, 2014

Nothing amazes us more here at Health Partners Free Clinic than the generosity of our donors.  Year in and year out those foundations, grantors, corporations, and individuals who support the Clinic financially enables us to continue on with our mission of serving those in need.  These folks are heroes in our eyes and we love to celebrate their big hearts.  As a director, the best part of my year is delivering the “Thank You” phone calls after a big fund raising event.  Say thank you 50 times in a week and by Friday your smile will be ear to ear.

Recently I was on the phone with a donor and became very intrigued with the “tradition” that her family had started.  Typically, I never know where these phone calls will lead.  Some will keep me on the phone for 20 minutes, while others want off there in 20 seconds as if I had caught them getting out of the shower.  Some are amazed and grateful to hear from me, and others, albeit few, will be irritated that I dialed their number.  The point here is that regardless of the disposition of the donor, they all choose to give and deserve to be thanked.  Back to the mother with a tradition to tell me.

“Oh we choose a different charity to give to every Christmas”, she said.  “My children and their families do the same and we use this as gifts to each other.”  I had heard of this kind of thing before, so it wasn’t the concept that bewildered me.  However, what she said next lifted an eyebrow.  “Even my son gave to you all one year, in fact, I believe he still does give”, she stated.  “Indeed he does,” I responded with little regard to privacy at this point, “actually he has given religiously over this past year, even sending along little notes of encouragement with his donations.”  I hope the adoring mother felt the same lump in her throat that I did after revealing her son’s actions, but if she did I didn’t hear it.  Perhaps she wasn’t shocked by his generous way.

That meant something to me though.  I still get a little choked up thinking about the whole concept.  Those notes that always seemed to come just when we needed the lift.  The continuous donation, just because the son believed in what we do here at Health Partners.  That apple fell near the tree, and thank God for it.  I’m sure there are many families throughout our community that do the same Christmas tradition.  I’ll bet we have more second generation donors that I am not aware of.  But what if every family in America played Christmas in reverse like this family.  I wonder what the nation would look like then?

Our annual “Gift of Health” fund raiser campaign brought in over double the expected response this year for the Clinic.  With the transitional health care environment and the addition of a full-time Nurse Practitioner, we needed our donors support desperately.  We got it.  Shaken together and pressed down.  I appreciate every cent that comes our way, but more than that I appreciate those who give.  With a big smile I say Thank You Donors! and thanks for your example.