On Charitable Giving and Philanthropy

From CloudHealth Technologies Blog  

Philanthropic work has always been near and dear to my heart, and I’m not alone in that sentiment here at CloudHealth Technologies. As a company we have pledged to improve the lives of others in the community by investing in volunteerism and charitable giving.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about why that’s important, and how I became such a big a part of the non-profit world. Although what I should really say is: how the non-profit world became such a big part of me.

How It All Began

“You get what you give” isn’t just a popular catchphrase, it’s also one of the driving forces behind my work with the Wonderfund, a local charity that helps troubled children in Massachusetts. There are many anecdotes I could share about this amazing organization:

There’s the story of a foster family that wanted to adopt a quadriplegic child but lacked the money for a handicap-accessible van. Thanks to the generosity of a group of my friends, family, and Wonderfund donors, we raised $30,000 in 24 hours to make that dream a reality.

We also funded the cost of a young high school student’s trip to President Obama’s inauguration so that she could join her classmates on this special school trip. She also took tours of the Capitol and attended some legislator’s speeches. She said it was the thrill of her life!

Then there’s my own story, which began with a phone call from the Wonderfund’s Executive Director on a snowy December day a number of years ago. She was in a panic because, with less than 2 weeks to Christmas, she was falling short in getting donors to provide gifts for a couple of hundred DCF kids as part of that year’s annual holiday drive. I asked her to send the list of gifts they wanted, went on a shopping spree, filled a U-Haul rental truck, and delivered them to DCF area offices all around the state. Along the way that day I met many social workers and was touched by their stories and passion for their jobs. Just like that, I embarked on a journey from being someone who donated a few presents during the holidays to becoming a board member. This was 17 years ago, and I was the CFO of a different software company (I hadn’t yet made my way to CHT, which is a different story).

Within a few years after my initial introduction to the Wonderfund, my relationship and passion for it grew. In 2003, I was named to the board of directors of the Fund. In 2011, I became Chairman of the Board.

Impact the World of Tomorrow

My involvement with the Wonderfund might seem completely separate from my other full-time job: CFO of CHT. It’s not. CHT now operates offices around the world: London, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, Sydney. And wherever we are, we have a duty to give back to the surrounding community. The Wonderfund is by no means the only charitable organization we support — a common thread throughout all our philanthropic work is that we are making a commitment to nurturing bright young minds. We want to inspire others to dream big, and to give children an outlet for their creativity, innovation, and drive. These are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow!

I’ve spent decades immersed in the Boston business world, and one of the things that has always motivated me is this city’s strong sense of community. What I’ve found in my years of working with social workers, charitable organizations and even technology companies is that people always want to help. Giving back makes them feel inspired. I’m living proof: my work with the Wonderfund has given me an opportunity to support a cause that I passionately believe in, and making a positive impact in deserving children’s lives has been the ultimate reward.

The entire company has rallied around this cause, and fully embraced the spirit of giving by participating in the Wonderfund’s annual holiday gift drive. Last year, the response was so overwhelming that we had to ask for more children to donate to. Those generous donations brightened the holidays for many abused and neglected children in our Commonwealth.

So that’s my story. And it’s one of the reasons why we created a Community Commitment page for the company website: because it’s something we’re all passionate about, and we believe it’s one of the many things that makes CloudHealth Technologies great.

More on the Wonderfund

In any given year, over 100,000 children are engaged with DCF. The Wonderfund is a private 501(c)3 non-profit that serves these children through a unique and exclusive partnership. The Wonderfund raises private money to provide these children with 3 categories of support:

  • Often children coming into the care of DCF have only the clothes on their back, so the Fund provides emergency and transitional assistance. An example would be a duffel bag full of diapers, pajamas, socks, an age-appropriate toy, etc.
  • Enrichment opportunities such as music lessons, SAT prep, school supplies and an opportunity to attend summer camp. These opportunities can prove to be life-changing.
  • During the holidays, the Fund partners with corporations and individuals to provide a holiday gift for nearly all children served by the Department. In 2016, gifts were delivered to over 42,000 children across Massachusetts.

Approximately 18 months ago, something wonderful happened. Our little fund caught the eye of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts First Lady, Lauren Baker. Lauren fell in love with our mission and formally joined our board as Vice Chair 3 months ago. Her association with our fund has opened fundraising avenues that is taking our small Fund to new heights. During my tenure on the board we have raised over $20m and, with Lauren now partnering with us, we hope to take a fund that raises $2.5m a year to one that starts doubling that number every year.