When he volunteered for the Guthrie Board of Trustees in 1998, David Allen thought it would be a good way to use his experience as a financial planner and a retired professor of political science and economics to support his local hospital. But by giving his time, talent, and financial gifts for 22 years, David’s support of Guthrie has also become his heartfelt way to give back to a community he loves.
“Wherever we live in the world, we want to have access to superior health care. Lots of people don’t have that resource,” he says. “We are extremely fortunate to have Guthrie’s outstanding health care right at our doorstep. I want to see that continue, so my wife and I give our time and our money to help support that.”
David understands better than most the fiscal pressures on Guthrie and all health care organizations today. “Shrinking operating margins, unfavorable reimbursement from insurance and government sources, growing uncompensated care, and the pressure to attract and retain highly qualified providers are all big budgetary issues we deal with,” he explains. “That’s why careful fiscal management and philanthropic giving are priorities for us.”
Philanthropic giving is the key to meeting operating expenses and doing innovative and forward-thinking projects that enhance the health care available to the community. “We need community support so we can not only keep the lights on and the doors open, but to do important projects like the affiliation with Cortland Medical Center and the Guthrie Same-Day Surgery Center,” he says.
Support for the Present and the Future
Part of the responsibility of the Trustees is to make sure that revenue and philanthropic donations are carefully managed with an eye on the present and the future. “We take our stewardship commitments seriously because we know the Guthrie and the community trust us with overseeing our facilities’ best interests,” says David, who is a member of the board’s finance committee and chair of its investment committee. “We want to make sure we make the best use of our resources and support efforts to increase those resources.”
David and the other Guthrie Trustees also work to help their friends, neighbors, and members of the business community understand what philanthropic giving looks like on an individual basis.
“Many people think that only rich people can support Guthrie’s philanthropic program, but that is just not true,” says David. “Everyone can give, and in different ways.”
He explains that Guthrie needs people to contribute their time as well as their monetary support. “For those who have the time, we always need volunteers. We can use everyone’s talent, whether that’s interfacing with patients, working in the business office, supporting our events, or volunteering for our boards,” he says.
The Importance of Financial Giving
Thoughtful monetary giving is also a need. “Whether you can commit to an annual donation, give a one-time gift, or create a legacy plan in your will to support Guthrie into the future, these are all important ways to ensure our preeminent health care facilities will continue to be here for our community,” he says.
There’s another important reason for people to support Guthrie with a financial donation. Those donations – both their number and amounts – are carefully reviewed by foundations that also have an interest in supporting Guthrie. “Foundations want to see how much the local community supports the health system before they will commit to a grant or gift,” he explains. “The more a foundation sees the community is behind Guthrie, the more likely they will be to open their checkbooks.”
David and his wife are both longtime donors to Guthrie. “I was raised to understand that when you are blessed, you give back,” David says. “I have been fortunate to have had a great education, a career in academia that I enjoyed, and now a second career as a financial advisor while I am in retirement. Supporting Guthrie is just a way we can give back to our community.”