Cultivating Philanthropy

Cultivating Philanthropy

Phi·lan·thro·py /fəˈlanTHrəpē/noun

  1. the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes:

Today is National Philanthropy Day in the United States. April 24th is not a date that I ever remember as being National Philanthropy Day but nevertheless, I’m happy it exists and it is being prioritized as something to celebrate.

The level of challenges and complexities that exist in today’s world are beyond comparison to anything any of us have experienced. At a time when our government is showing minimal ability to collaborate, it is critical for individuals and corporations to be more proactive and take more responsibility.

Over the years, I have been moved by the acts of companies and high net-worth individuals who have made a conscious effort to donate their wealth and time to noteworthy causes (and in a way that “moves the needle”).  The Patagonia story. The Bill and Melinda Gates story. Warren Buffet. Dr. Ruth Gottesman. There are many more, of course, and all of them are incredibly inspiring.

I have also been incredibly inspired by those who give – that don’t necessarily have the financial resources – but yet make it a priority to give back to their community, whether by donating their money and/or time.

In the long run, when people are involved in philanthropy at any level, it helps make communities stronger. When people feel personally invested in community-centric organizations, it creates an environment of teamwork, awareness and support. I hope we will see people of all ages increasing their involvement while deeply considering and understanding the alternatives in today’s society. 

I was fortunate to have been introduced to Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2011. I had lived in Baltimore for 8 years and always heard about Kennedy Krieger given the huge impact they were making – but I didn’t know much else other than that I wanted to learn more. After touring the outpatient rehab center, inpatient hospital, K-8 school, and high school I was convinced I needed to get involved. The people I met were authentic, brilliant, and dedicated to helping children with spinal cord and brain injuries, neurodivergent and physical disabilities. In fact, Kennedy Krieger helps more than 20,000 families each year. If they’re lucky, those families live locally in Baltimore; otherwise most families travel great distances from around the globe to receive their transformative services.

At the time I took the tour, there were several women who were talking about starting an all-women’s volunteer group to support the families that utilize the Institute who invited me to get involved. With the strength of the mission and the desire and willingness of the team, I jumped on board to help them build.

My (and my family’s) life was soon filled with a plethora of eye-opening, grounding events, ranging from painting rocks with inpatients and my own children at Planting Hope, volunteering in the Child-Life room, and hosting membership lunches in my living room. Fast forward two years  and I was asked to fill the role as the first President of the Women’s Initiative Network (aka “WIN”), which was a true honor. During my two-year term as President, we grew the organization from 4 to 50 women. We hosted events, supported patient families, raised a lot of money for the Institute, and built a community of women and children who understood the importance of working together for the benefit of Kennedy Krieger and the families it cares for.  

As of 2024, WIN is 11 years old and 100 members strong, and has helped a multitude of patients, students and families in the meantime! I continue to be blown away by the love, care, expertise, and dedication of every employee (and WIN member!) I meet. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. The growth and maturity that I personally have experienced, along with my husband and children, is extraordinary. Volunteering for WIN has been a family affair and a life lesson for all 5 of us.

Along with my family involvement, I have been intentional over the years in my role as CEO to ensure The Nanny Network’s involvement as well. In fact, one of our core values is Do the Right Thing. Live ethically and humbly, and give back to the community.

The Nanny Network was recognized by the Association of Premier Nanny Agencies (APNA) for its community service and was awarded the Service Award due to its steadfast commitment. This was a proud moment for our team. In addition to Kennedy Krieger, The Nanny Network has also been happy to support the following organizations: Sharebaby, Ronald McDonald House, Maryland Food Bank, First Fruits Farm, and Irvine Nature Center. Also, in 2023, the company added a paid volunteer day to its benefit package for all of its employees.