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Philanthropy Matters | DKH in the Community

October 31, 2016
Authored by Kristen Willis, Director of Development
Day Kimball Healthcare is most fortunate to be part of a vibrant, caring community that exudes philanthropic spirit through participation in countless acts of volunteerism, advocacy and financial support. That philanthropic spirit is so critical to not only Day Kimball, but all of our nonprofits who share the common bond of commitment for the betterment of the community in which we work, play, and live.

Our community is living proof that philanthropy is more than a simple transaction or exchange between the individual and organization: it is meant to be transformational, impacting and meeting the intended goals of both the giver and receiver. At Day Kimball, the evidence of this is clear. Over the past twenty years, we have witnessed the transformation of our physical plant with the addition of the Hale Medical Pavilion and the Burdick Family Birthing Center, the expansion of our Oncology Department and surgical suites, and most recently, the addition of the Townsend Emergency Medical Center to name a few. The hospital benefits from the contributions of over 200 volunteers in any given year who serve in a variety of roles to assist staff and enhance the experience of our patients and visitors. There are hundreds more who serve on our leadership and advisory boards, fundraising and event committees, and our auxiliary Woman's Board. Individual and business community partners help to organize, contribute to, and participate in fundraising events that provide funds in support of a variety of services that would otherwise not be afforded to patients and their families including cancer care, hospice, family and child advocacy programs, spiritual care, education and wellness programs, and much more. Most telling, has been the impassioned, grass roots effort that has taken place over the past few years to bring renewed attention to protecting one of our most vital assets in Northeastern Connecticut. There is no doubt that the Day Kimball of today is stronger for it.

Our Development Office is much more than a receiver of charitable donations – we not only honor and value your gifts, but your presence. In my development career, there has been no role more enjoyable than that as “friend raiser” or more rewarding than that of “philanthropic facilitator” where institutional mission and philanthropic vision come together for the greater good. As a native and life-long resident of Northeastern Connecticut, the lifesaving mission of Day Kimball is one that I care deeply about: meeting the health needs of our community through our core values of clinical quality, customer service, fiscal responsibility, and local control. The mission of the Development office is to support Day Kimball Healthcare in meeting those needs by securing philanthropic gifts, creating awareness of our network of services, and building relationships through special events, outreach activities and donor cultivation. Our role is overarching in terms of community outreach and engagement, raising funds and awareness for all of our service divisions and associated programs including Day Kimball Hospital, Day Kimball HomeCare, Day Kimball HomeMakers, Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut, and the Day Kimball Chaplaincy Program.

Our mission is about philanthropy – in an altruistic sense, a selfless concern for the well-being of others. It’s about an exchange of values and a relationship that provides a means by which both parties are able to realize a shared vision or ideal. This exchange, along with the volunteer spirit on which American philanthropy has been built, is what allows us to make positive change in the world. In the few short months that I have been at DKH, I see the spirit of giving in this community each and every day. Each time you volunteer, advocate, participate in an event, or contribute to DKH, you improve the quality of life in Northeastern Connecticut. Philanthropy touches every aspect of Day Kimball Healthcare and in turn, positively impacts the health and well-being of you, your family, your neighbors and friends.

Philanthropy is also about stewardship: good works and deeds deserve gratitude, accountability, and affirmation. Nothing is more exciting or rewarding than to see the impact that our efforts have on others and to know that our best intentions were respected and preserved. Development is about much more than raising money. It is about generosity and a donor’s decision to bestow that generosity, in whatever form, upon a cause that they believe in and to be on the receiving end of that generosity is a privilege. There is no refuting the tenants of good stewardship and the duty of care it implies. Philanthropy is what defines Day Kimball as a nonprofit and stands behind the very core of its existence. Our role in fund development is to provide a means by which to achieve it ethically, responsibly, and unselfishly.

It is with excitement and great enthusiasm that I have joined the staff at Day Kimball Healthcare as Director of Development. In my new role, I hope to further the mission of Day Kimball by being an agent of positive and effective change, to develop stronger relationships with our constituents and community partners, to support our affiliates, and to continue to grow this organization which is so critical to the health and welfare of our community. Having made a career in fundraising and development, I’ve a true appreciation for philanthropy as a means to achieve a public good and admiration for those individuals and organizations that put philanthropy into action through volunteerism, public service, or financial support. Ultimately, it is about people helping people – our success is your success. Through this column, I intend to keep you informed about how we are moving forward with your help, and invite you to share your experiences, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives on how we can best serve the health needs of our community together. I hope that you’ll find the dialogue helpful as you consider how you might put your own philanthropic priorities into action.

Do you have questions, concerns, stories to share, or topics related to philanthropy and Day Kimball Healthcare that you’d like to learn more about? Please feel free to reach out to Kristen at 860-928-7141 or email kewillis@daykimball.org.


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