Guest post by Julie Pepper Lim, Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Meritage Medical Network.
Philanthropy means the love of humanity. I recently learned what a huge philanthropist, pop-star, artist Prince was. He was described in Rolling Stone magazine as
Prince did it through his music, and his generosity and he did it in his uniquely genius way, funding whole communities he believed needed help, by finding concrete ways to uplift those communities and in many cases, anonymously. Not everyone can be that altruistically giving. Not everyone can afford to give in the first place, but even for those that can, most people want credit for their contributions. Corporations have budgeting parameters from finance annually, quarterly, monthly so in many cases, need to reveal their identity when being charitable. Let’s face it, though, that can also be a part of the reward of having given in the first place. Engaging with the communities we give to, being invited to an event or outcome because we’re supporting it, doesn’t just give us credit, but makes us a part of something meaningful.
I’ve had the privilege this year of being a part of some very meaningful events because I happen to work for a very philanthropic company.
At Meritage Medical Network, we support a diverse group of organizations in a variety of ways. It would be easy for me to rattle off a list of organizations we support, but a lot more fun to describe the refugee family from Afghanistan we met, and their beautiful smiles and the joy I felt in each family member’s outstretched hand when I had the good fortune to be formally introduced, while hiking alongside them in April, when we got to participate in Children for Change.
Or the amazing experience we had while raising $10,000 for a non-profit called Operation Access that provides vital surgery and specialty care for people who could not otherwise afford it. Ours was a fitness challenge through the Atlas app, where we selected a dedicated activity of running, walking or biking and raised money with every mile we pushed through.
Sometimes it’s a marathon, for Marin or Sonoma County, collaborating with our expert physical therapists at CORE Physical Therapy, or a walk for the American Heart Association, or a gala at Marin General Hospital, or a baseball game, or a golf tournament, or supporting our local film festival—because what’s not great about going to the movies and supporting the arts? Okay, so it’s also fun to rattle them off, but you get the picture—
Philanthropy is a little like that old Christmas adage, which as a kid, I thought maybe the grown-ups were just saying to us kids so we’d stop and think about someone besides ourselves once in a while, but I now realize: Giving really is Receiving.
It’s not just about money, or financial contribution, though it’s nice when you have the resources to assist in driving impact—it’s about helping to ignite change.
I love the way the Haas Institute talks about the conceptual frame for Othering in the Othering and Belonging conference they held last spring: provides a way of understanding how groups are stratified by race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and religion among other social categories of difference, to discern the possibilities for generating more inclusive structures, narratives and identities to promote genuine Belonging.
Philanthropy is about supporting causes we believe in, finding out about causes we don’t know enough about and helping to drive awareness to those causes, ultimately, creating a more just planet. It’s about doing what we can, in any way we can to help every human on the planet feel that sense of genuine belonging.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share in my company’s philanthropic work and to be working for a health care company that shows their love of humanity through participation, community building and their passion for people.