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My Anchors and Inspirations

My Anchors and Inspirations

Chapter Leadership Brief

By Jill Scibilia, CFRE, AFP-NYC President-Elect
Vice President, Development
Phelps Hospital Northwell Health

As I write this, I am on the campus of the community hospital I serve, Phelps Hospital Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow.  Our hospital sits on a 69-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River and my office is in a building up the hill from the main hospital.  I am not on the front lines the way my medical colleagues are who care for patients, but I am a close witness to the work in which they are engaged. These are unprecedented times and it is an honor to work with them always and especially during these times. 

As the world has shifted in response to the novel coronavirus, our hospital has shifted.  Like all healthcare settings it is fair to say we are taking it hour-by-hour and there has been a great deal of change.  I will fully admit to you that I have changed my mind more than a few times over the last few weeks. But the change has been about details.  And we know details matter in our work and I certainly know how much they matter in our healthcare settings right now.  As the world begins to feel topsy-turvy with all of this change, I think it is important we remember that the heart of what we do has not changed.  There are some constants.  For me it is helpful to remember them at these times as both an anchor and source of inspiration. 

Here is my list…

  1. My organization’s mission remains constant and the people we serve are worthy of the highest level of investment and support.
  2. My role as its lead fundraiser is to be a champion and to connect people who want to make a difference with those who can.
  3. People respond to people—and in order to respond, they need to be asked. 
  4. Our donors and those who care about our organizations want to hear from us during the good times; they often crave hearing from us during the bad times. 
  5. Authenticity beats perfection every time.

Perhaps you have some constants you would add to this list.  I would be very interested to hear them.

I will close with a note that one of my donors sent me last week after I had checked in to make sure he and his family were safe and well.  His note warmed my heart and moved me to tears. It also reminded me that our donors care about us and want to see our organizations succeed. 

“It is heartening to know that the community is bonding together to spread the available knowledge and ways to deal with this dreadful pandemic. May you never tire and cease to reassure people on this all-of-a-sudden strange planet we are all in.”

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.  Remember that the work you do to facilitate philanthropy is noble whether you are a fundraiser or a consultant who serves our industry.  Our organizations and all those we serve will need us now more than ever in the days and months to come. 

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.

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