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Weaving an Impact

I had a little time on my hands when my daughter went to college, so I tried something I had always wanted to do—needlepointing.

Alex Beattie’s inspired needlework series was something that always caught my attention in the back of magazines and in tapestry ads. It is something to which many can relate—the Creation Series. Six sizeable needlepoints bringing the creation vividly to life.

As I labored hour after hour on these needlepoints, it struck me that so often when I discussed endowments or naming opportunities with donors, I used the words “woven into the fabric of our organization.” I often thought that both naming opportunities and needlepointing offer a sense of well-being for many individuals. Both are enormously therapeutic.

As gifts are received, they help to create a genuine impact for the organization. A naming opportunity or the establishment of an endowment also changes the face of an organization permanently.

The donor’s identity helps attract attention to the area named. Such a gift is most often leveraged, inspiring other contributions, strengthening the area even further. Such was the case when the John G. Rangos, Sr. Pediatric Research Center at the then Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh was established in Oakland in June 1990. Everyone immediately began to call it the “Rangos.” “I’m going to the Rangos.” “Meet me at the Rangos.” All were familiar comments. People knew that the gifts they were giving to Children’s made an impact on research at the Rangos. The name Rangos is truly woven into the very fabric of the Children’s Hospital culture and continued on when the hospital relocated.

The same thing happened at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center—the name Hillman is part of Pittsburgh culture due to the extraordinary support Mr. and Mrs. Hillman provided so many organizations. At the cancer center in Shadyside, however, thousands of people come through the center every week, and they are all going to the “Hillman.” Again, woven into the very fabric of the institution. It has always seemed that the name Hillman also gave a sense of comfort to the people seeking care—such was the impact of Mr. and Mrs. Hillman and the caring effect they had on others.

Every gift is stitched into an entire tapestry of philanthropy, woven for the benefit of our community. Every stitch tells the story of a relationship. Over time, teams of donors. leaders, volunteers, and development officers with unlimited possibilities change the face of the organization, directing it to durable priorities within the community and providing it with a sense of well-being. The tapestry of an organization.

Invitation to comment: Do you have an example similar to one of these?


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