A Message from the President
Author Steven Pinker has a new book that encourages us to be optimistic about the state of the world, specifically highlighting a long list of ways our world is improving as proof positive for optimism. He provides statistics that show life expectancy is increasing, while life-threatening diseases, hunger and poverty are decreasing. He makes a case that our access to information (no surprise) is increasing, as is female equality, and that most areas of the globe are at peace. He tells us the portion of an individual’s life that is taken up by work has decreased by a quarter since 1960! By all accounts he successfully portrays a world that has increasing reason for optimism.
While this is certainly an encouraging and uplifting perspective, it strikes me that you could look at the world through the lens of philanthropy and come away with exactly the same assessment. For the past several years, there has been a measurable increase in the amount of donations in the United States. When there is a crisis anywhere in the world, people step up with time, resources and money to address the critical needs. Philanthropy is powering scientific discovery, education, health care, the arts, philosophical structures, religion and multiple social service ventures. Without a doubt this reflects the optimism of donors for the world and all its varied elements.
We at Virginia Mason feel this optimism. We too have experienced an increase in philanthropic support – patients, donors, volunteers, friends investing in the important work that we do. But the true source of our optimism is the powerful impact of your wonderful support. Your generosity has allowed us to provide volunteer companions for our hospital patients to help overcome their feelings of loneliness. It has provided laundry and showering facilities for our homeless clients at Bailey-Boushay House. Your donations have supported critical research that uncovered a strategy that could stop breast cancer tumors from growing and spreading, potentially saving women’s lives worldwide. And this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impact of your giving.
In 2017, we received philanthropic support totaling $18 million, including more than 22,500 hours of volunteer time and energy. On behalf of our patients and their families, our team members and physicians, and our boards and community, thank you for the optimism you instill in all of us through your generosity and partnership!
Virginia Mason Foundation