Meet GBMC Philanthropy Committee Chair: Heidi Kenny-Berman, Esq.
I was first asked to join the GBMC Foundation Board in 2006 before it became an extension of the GBMC Healthcare Board into the aptly named, GBMC Philanthropy Committee. So, my involvement with GBMC Philanthropy spans over a decade.
My introduction to GBMC came as it does for so many others, which is due to a grateful patient experience. In this instance, my father-in-law was diagnosed with throat cancer. He was successfully treated at his hospital of choice, GBMC. My participation stemmed from nothing other than gratitude. From there, I had my two children here and it has been the experiences of everyday health issues, concerns and medical prevention that has kept me engaged with the hospital.
I have a window into the level of excellence GBMC provides. We are truly blessed to have a community hospital in our backyard that offers excellence in treatment and care. The sense of community and camaraderie I have experienced since my involvement continues to motivate me. I am committed to doing all I can to ensure the hospital sustains the level of treatment and care so many of us have experienced and expect. I am a willing participant. I have a sense of duty as a member of the community to ensure GBMC carries out its mission, especially since, as a community, we have everything to gain from it.
What does it mean to you to lead this group?
Our Philanthropy Committee is an amazing group of well-accomplished individuals who share the same passions as me. Leading this group means I have the greatest privilege and opportunity to capitalize on not only the committee member’s energy, but also from the Foundation office staff as well. It’s infectious. Every one of us wants to have an impact to ensure the success of the organization. We all do our part. It is the committee members and the Foundation staff that will make my leadership role look seamless. I would also be remiss by not including our donors. Our donor base is unprecedented. I am routinely humbled by the generosity of our donors. To be the face of the donor base, it is extremely honorable.
What is your vision for the Committee in your time as chair?
My vision is to mainstream philanthropic giving while continuing to increase outreach. I think we can combine many of our efforts and streamline the giving process for our donors. I also think we can do more to engage members of the community. For instance, I think we have opportunities to increase our corporate giving. By bundling sponsorship opportunities, we can ensure these generous gifts are more aligned with a company’s interests. Additionally, I think our community members want to be engaged. It’s our job to ask them.
What do you feel you will bring to the role of chair?
I will bring the same level of enthusiasm and drive I brought as the Chair of the Annual Fund Subcommittee, but on a larger scale and in a different role. I want to make the most of my passion for wanting to make a difference. This characterization is what people know and expect from me. Therefore, I have the same expectation of giving 110% in this role as I do in any other.
Any other thoughts you want to share with donors and the community.
The word, philanthropy, alone is intimidating for so many. It automatically invokes feelings of anxiety and fear – "I have to ask people for money?!" Philanthropy is so much more than an "ask." It’s about engaging people and bringing the community together.
All you have to do is have a passion for something: an experience or an interest. People will naturally be drawn to your enthusiasm out of natural curiosity. Passion has an energy and magnetism.
Have you ever heard a story or a speech that captivated you to such an extent that you had to react and do something about it? These reactions could range from placing a phone call, researching or "googling" it, writing a letter, joining a group or do something that makes an impact or change. Well, that’s what philanthropy is to me. The word philanthropy is of Greek origin meaning "man-loving." Interestingly, it has no connotation to giving. I would encourage anyone who wants to witness the human spirit in action to consider becoming engaged with GBMC. The opportunities are endless. It is as simple as just being a willing participant, however you define it.