November Marks the Month of Gratitude

Submitted by Tami Bohannon, CFRE, Chief Development Officer

Many of us automatically associate November with showing gratitude and celebrating Thanksgiving. We have another day to show gratitude this month, and that’s on the National Philanthropy Day sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. For almost five decades AFP has celebrated NPD on the 15th of November. The purpose of this day is to recognize the great contribution of philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – to the enrichment of our world.

Philanthropy – voluntary giving for the common good – is so important to America because it is voluntary. When someone makes a charitable contribution, they feel good not only because they are helping to improve society, but also because they want to give. Philanthropy is people helping people because it is the right thing to do, not because of some requirement. And charitable giving benefits everyone, because at some point in time everyone has been affected by a charity and its services.

America is a land of choices, and people can commit their time or spend their money in countless ways. But for volunteers and donors, philanthropy is not just a consumer choice. It is a statement about themselves and what they want their society to look like. When Americans make the choice to give, our nation becomes better – our world becomes better. As a society, we become more united. We become a community.

Here at Esperança we work as a community of staff, board, volunteers and donors to make a change for the better for those we serve to improve health, healing and hope. In a special way this year we recognize the contributions of Dr. Ray Sachs as our 2020 Volunteer Fundraiser Honoree.

Ray has been a believer and advocate for Esperança’s 50-year-old mission of health for all since his first trip to Bolivia in 2010. As a surgical team lead, Ray brought together a team of orthopedic specialists to volunteer their time and talents to perform life-changing surgeries for patients in Bolivia. In one week, the team saw 74 patients and gave Ray a vision for the future of expanding Esperança’s surgical program. He has since led 15 missions to various parts of Latin America, performing evaluations and operations for thousands of patients in need.

When Ray returned to the states from that first trip, the real work began. He started assessing the need for various surgical specialties and brainstorming the funding it would take to put more teams on the ground. His first fundraising initiative was encouraging surgical volunteers to cover their trip expenses (food, flight, lodging, etc), and the administrative cost to Esperança as a donation, fostering a culture of philanthropy among Esperança’s international volunteers, thus alleviating the financial strain of sending missions. He is also adept in asking hospitals and medical supply producers to donate specialized equipment in support of Esperança’s surgical missions, ensuring that patients are treated with the most dignity possible.

What began as a firm belief in covering all mission costs incurred by his team became Ray’s personal mission to expand not only Esperança’s reach of services, but awareness of the cause through new, innovative fundraising efforts.

“I am passionate about delivering health care to those most in need and am devoted to helping Esperança grow and prosper,” he shares.

So as we celebrate National Philanthropy Day on November 15, 2020 we hope you will join us in celebrating not only Dr. Ray Sachs but all of those whose philanthropy impacts the mission of Esperança, the participants we serve and our vision of healthy equity for all.

Esperança is grateful to be a nonprofit organization that benefits from the hundreds of billions of dollars contributed to charities in the United States every year. But it’s not those numbers that are so impressive. It’s not those amazing statistics that we celebrate as a member of the nonprofit community on Nov. 15th each year. Rather, it is the impact that we make that defines philanthropy and our charitable work. It is the impact of your gifts that have led to such extraordinary change—in healthcare, in education, in civil rights, in the environment, in housing. Name an issue over the past century and a half. Philanthropy and the charitable sector have been involved.