By Amber L. Tabora
More than 800 families from Houston and other parts of the state have answered the call to become Ambassadors for Texas Children’s Hospital. Their combined membership contributions total almost $3,000,000 in support for the hospital.
Ambassadors is the first philanthropic support group to span the hospital’s entire mission of patient care, education, research and charity care. Through an annual or lifetime membership contribution, Ambassadors become a voice for children in the community. As well, membership includes unique opportunities to go “behind the scenes” at Texas Children’s and learn more about children’s health topics in which members have particular interest.
“We are honored to have so many community leaders and friends of the hospital join us as Ambassadors,” said Mark A. Wallace, Texas Children’s president and chief executive officer. “Their generous membership contributions will support the hospital’s most urgent programmatic and capital priorities, enabling their gifts to have the greatest possible impact for the children and families we serve.”
At one of the kickoff events for the group, Ambassador leaders Corby Robertson III and his wife, Brooke, told potential members that much like political ambassadors, they were called to serve as philanthropic advocates on behalf of the sick and injured children cared for by Texas Children’s.
“The bottom line is that by joining Ambassadors, you are helping to heal sick children—and you’re going to have an opportunity to learn a great deal, have fun and help those in need,” added Brooke.
Those opportunities for Ambassadors include special presentations by Texas Children’s expert physicians on topics like swine flu and other emerging pandemics and new developments in brain science that have implications for childhood development. Each year, Ambassadors and their families also participate in a “reach-out” day involving activities for kids and adults alike—all with a purpose.
Ambassador leaders Nidhika and Pershant Mehta hosted the first family reach-out day at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. Almost 300 Ambassadors and their children came out to play games, have their faces painted, pet cuddly animals and participate in and learn about the hospital’s charity care mission.
Families brought books to donate to Texas Children’s “Project Medical Home” neighborhood practices, which provide free primary care to families in some of Houston’s most medically disadvantaged communities. The donated books will be given away to children at the practices as part of the hospital’s efforts to encourage literacy among the city’s more vulnerable populations.
“No matter how large or small your contribution, everyone joining has made a commitment to help support and advance the good work of Texas Children’s Hospital,” said Kelli Blanton, Ambassador leader. “That’s why Ambassadors is so important—it gives all of us a simple way to get involved and to give back.”
According to Ambassador leader Amy Shaper, she and her husband, Peter, joined the group because “it really boils down to one thing—and that is what is best for our children. They are the reason the hospital exists, and they are the reason Peter and I feel compelled to be advocates for it.”
For more information on Ambassadors for Texas Children’s Hospital, including a list of members and how to join, visit www.ambassadors.texaschildrens.org