The Importance of Internal Philanthropy

My colleague and the AST president-elect, Dr. Jim Allan, writes this week about the importance of charitable giving by members to support the mission and work of the society. This is a valuable aspect of your participation in helping advance research, education and advocacy for the benefit of patients; I join Jim in encouraging you to consider the AST’s charitable options when you plan your year-end giving.

In parallel, it is also vitally important that the society hold value for you. I invite you to share with me your thoughts and suggestions on ways the AST can provide added value to you as a member. Is there a new program or initiative you’d like to see us pursue? Is there something we are doing that could be done better? Is there something we have been doing that you think needs to be retired? Your feedback will help the AST leadership, at all levels, work to ensure that what we provide meets your needs and expectations, and continues to make your membership a valuable part of your professional life.
 

The Importance of Internal Philanthropy

Jim Allan, MD, MBA, Massachusetts General Hospital, AST president-elect

The AST has done a remarkable job of providing its membership exceptional educational opportunities, while at the same time supporting research and public advocacy—all with the focus and intent of improving the lives of the patients for whom we care. Over the past decade, a number of forces have coalesced to restrict the AST’s major source of outside revenue, namely support from the transplant-related pharmaceutical industry. The AST leadership has responded to this financial pressure by carefully stewarding our financial resources, and by scrutinizing and prioritizing all of our many programmatic offerings. While our society remains financially strong, it is clear to all of us that we need to look externally for more support for our mission. Currently, the board is making aggressive plans to allow our society to have a public face, with the hope that the miraculous work we do for our patients will be broadly recognized and supported. If we are successful in this endeavor, we anticipate that the AST will be better positioned to meet the needs of our membership and our patients, while keeping dues affordable.

So why am I writing you today? In brief, the AST needs your money. The good news is that we don’t need much, and we have no plans to increase membership dues for the coming year. However, one of the most important factors that external funding sources examine in deciding whether to support a society is the extent to which the society is supported by its own membership. The principal metric that is commonly used in this regard is “% participation.” The actual dollar amount of internal support is typically a secondary consideration.

I am therefore hoping that every member of the AST will go to the donor tab on our website and make a small tax-deductible contribution. Your contribution is an investment in the future of our society and a gesture of generosity that allows you to leave a legacy that will shape the field of transplantation.

We recognize that different initiatives resonate differently with each individual. Therefore, on our website, in addition to unrestricted contributions, we have provided a whole menu of ways to earmark your contribution. You might want to support cutting edge research through a contribution to TIRN, or help send a young fellow to the AST's annual Fellow's Symposium, or you could help fund a future educational program.

I can't thank you enough for supporting the AST. I also welcome all of your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Comments

Jim, This is well said and I agree completely. My contribution is in.

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