At Hartsook, we empower nonprofits to unleash their power of philanthropy. We see this when staff, volunteers and donors come together to accomplish more, together, than they could apart. It is an honor to work amongst the team at Hartsook. Our work often forces me to reflect on times my family has been on the receiving end of others’ generosity.
My son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, when he was a two-and-a-half-year-old. He and his twin sister are now 14. During his 10 years of non-stop cancer treatment for multiple relapses that included several extensive surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments, radiation therapy and more, we have experienced the power of philanthropy over and over again.
Although we live in Kansas, we have traveled regularly and frequently to New York City for expert care. One of countless memories that stands out is the very first night we stood in line for dinner at the Ronald McDonald House of New York City.
Having been raised volunteering, always being taught the importance of giving to others, it was humbling to be on the other side of the table: being served rather than serving. The amount of volunteer hours and financial and in-kind gifts it took to allow each family, from around the world, to be there that sunny, summer evening—laughing and living, despite the battles our children faced—is hard to comprehend.
The passion of the volunteers that night was contagious, just as it was during the community-organized event to benefit my twins when my son was first diagnosed, and just as it has been with all the organizations we have benefitted from over the years: Band of Parents, Candlelighters NYC and others.
While the nonprofits have different missions, something they all have in common is that each embodies the power of philanthropy. The volunteers cannot do their job without the financial support of donors, and donors have nothing to give to without the work of volunteers.
We don’t give, because one day it could be us or our family in need. We give, because we care deeply about a mission or cause. For those of us who have unexpectedly been required to rely on others, let it be a reminder that no gift, no gesture and no hour spent volunteering goes unnoticed. The power of philanthropy extends further than most could imagine!