Author: Laurie Belew, Partner & Senior Financial Advisor
In 2018, I was able to participate in a program offered by the Nonprofit Management Center of the Permian Basin, called Generations. In two prior articles, I described the need for more programs like this and outlined some of the key learnings from going through the educational process it offers. In this third and final installment of the Serving Our Communities series, I look forward to sharing more about my placement on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit organization in Midland, TX.
Before I share about the organization, I am eager to serve, a bit more about the placement process itself. As is essential with any organizational placement, the NMC center strives to match the needs of each organization to the qualifications of the candidates. Most boards seek diversity in the skills and perspectives of the members who will be driving the strategic direction forward. Alignment in passion and clear support of the mission is just as important. So, about midway through the Generations program, the staff of the NMC requested each participant to complete an information form. We provided information about our professional expertise, past (and current) volunteer and fundraising experience, and general areas of interest.
One reason I started the Generations program was to learn more about the needs in the local community and the opportunities for service. My areas of interest are broad – from arts to education to healthcare – and I hoped to find some direction through this process. Ultimately, I was placed in a local organization called Gifts of Hope! Gifts of Hope is dedicated to supporting cancer patients by providing lodging, meals, medical, and other support.
As some may know, both my mother and mother-in-law have undergone cancer treatment in the past several years. They each elected to received treatment away from home, which presented a unique set of travel challenges. However, their burden was eased by access to convenient accommodations near their treatment sites. For similar patients in Midland, lodging can be a much larger concern. Those who have spent time in Midland know how difficult it can be to find hotel accommodations, especially at a reasonable price. And in some cases, such limited options lead patients to not coming for their cancer treatments at all.
At the Gift of Hope’s home called, Hope House, patients and caregivers can find lodging near the Allison Cancer Center at no cost. The Hope House is intended to be a home away from home during treatment, where patients and their families can rest with one less worry. Hope House was opened in 2006, and the current house was built in 2010. Since opening, over 10,000 room nights have been provided to over 4,000 patients in the Permian Basin area!
In addition to the need for lodging, the need for other support became clear once Gift of Hope started working with patients. Today, the organization provides lunch to patients undergoing treatment at the Allison Cancer Center Monday through Friday. Additionally, patients can receive assistance with the cost of prescriptions, medical equipment, and transportation. And several support groups are hosted at Hope House on a regular basis.
Each Fall, Gifts of Hope hosts an event called Pink the Park for those affected by breast cancer. It is a celebration event open to the public which is intended to support those battling cancer. The annual chili cookoff is another successful event designed to raise cancer awareness. And on February 9, 2019, Gifts of Hope will host a Sweetheart Ball with live music and dancing to raise funds for the continued support of Hope House.
I look forward to serving the Gifts of Hope organization and hope to contribute to its continued success in helping cancer patients in the Permian Basin.