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A Love Letter to Philanthropy Officers: Part 1

PART 1 of a 5-PART SERIES

February is often referred to as “the Month of Love,” so what better time is there to celebrate the true meaning of philanthropy, which is all about love? Originating from the Greek word, philanthrōpía, philanthropy quite literally means “love of humankind.” This five-part series celebrates philanthropy and serves as a love letter to philanthropy officers by offering support through perspectives on the opportunities in health care philanthropy for prospective donors to realize their goals.


This series will also address some of the hard-hitting questions philanthropy officers encounter from potential donors. These questions not only pose as a barrier for prospective health care donors but also remain a constant thorn in the side of every philanthropy officer. As leaders in philanthropy, it’s disheartening when we meet individuals who don’t readily understand the impact and goodwill of health care philanthropy, something that has become an integral part of our ethos.


There are already numerous well-researched, rational and academic examples illustrating why philanthropists should consider health care as a meaningful, if not the best, investment for their philanthropic dollars. For an excellent article on this rationale, I recommend Mary K. Totten’s piece: The Role of Philanthropy in Hospital Income.


However, this series is not that article.


This love letter series, inspired by an article by Jennifer and Peter Buffet, stewards of the NoVo Foundation, serves as a resource for philanthropy officers to reflect upon when they encounter potential health care donors in their natural habitats, whether at a gala, special event, cocktail party, on a phone call or Zoom meeting or around their kitchen table.


The reason to give to health care philanthropy is not solely about impact. There is room for heart in an industry coined after love. Beyond community impact, consider how supporting health care philanthropy personally benefits donors—it’s not just for the greater good.


The reason to give to health care philanthropy is not solely about impact. There is room for heart in an industry coined after love.

My hope is that this series allows you to share the true meaning of philanthropy with your potential donors, sharing the opportunities and joys that health care philanthropy allows them to experience. If they have a philanthropic heart, their local health care organization belongs among their top three philanthropic priorities.


Philanthropy, the love of humankind, is well understood. And what better way to experience this love than to help care for, cure, nurture and prolong the life of humankind?

Accordant Perspectives_Love Letter to Philanthropy Officers Part 1
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About the Author: Heather Wiley Starankovic, CFRE, CAP®, is a Principal Consultant with Accordant. She is dedicated to supporting staff members and creating programs that keep talented and dedicated servant leaders withing the field. You can reach Heather by email at Heather@AccordantHealth.com or by connecting through LinkedIn.

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The Accordant Team has published a number of books to advance the efforts of health care philanthropy and help development leaders everywhere. 

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Accordant is honored to collaborate with American Hospital Association Trustee Services to provide issue papers, templates and webinars to support the involvement of healthcare trustees and foundation board members in advancing philanthropy. These resources can also be found on the AHA Trustee website.

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