By Kathy Isdale
After touring Texas Children’s last year and learning about its vision and goals, Wil and Jennifer VanLoh made their very first gift to the hospital in November 2010—a pledge of $500,000 to join Ambassadors for Texas Children’s Hospital at the highest level. The gift makes them the first Diamond Level members of this dynamic group.
As a contribution through Ambassadors, the VanLohs’ gift will support the hospital’s highest priorities. Wil VanLoh explains, “We just felt drawn to what’s going on at Texas Children’s, and we trust that the leadership will direct the gifts to the right spot.”
Last year, Ambassadors gifts were directed to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, one of the hospital’s most pronounced priorites of its expansion and Heal Sick Children campaign.
VanLoh says the couple likes to focus their giving on organizations and programs that are going to have a significant impact on peoples’ lives. “As an investor,” he says, “I look for companies that have great management, great products or services, and a true competitive advantage. Our philanthropy is very much driven along the same lines of seeking excellence and impact in the organization. When we visited Texas Children’s, met the doctors and researchers and the executive management of the hospital, we were particularly impressed with how much they had their game together. The entire organization was filled with world-class people; they provided world-class health care and research; they demonstrated operational excellence; and they presented a very clear vision.”
More than that, however, the couple stresses that their philanthropy stems from their Christian faith.
“Our philosophy, what guides our family’s philanthropy, is that we believe very strongly that our resources, everything we have, is not ours, it’s God’s,” VanLoh says. “Most of our giving is Christian-focused, and though Texas Children’s is not specifically a Christian organization, its mission of healing and of helping those who can’t help themselves is certainly central to our beliefs.”
VanLoh met Jennifer when she was finishing training as a physician’s assistant, and they married just a few months later. Her work as a surgical PA helped support the family while he was getting his business, Quantum Energy Partners, going.
She notes that their philanthropy is definitely a family affair. They involve their daughters, Grace, 14, Sarah, 12, and Mary, 9, in learning about many organizations they are considering supporting, and the girls make contributions themselves.
“But the story isn’t about us,” Jennifer says. “It’s about the hope that Texas Children’s offers. We are blessed to be able to contribute to the amazing work that they are doing.”
“As Christians,” VanLoh adds, “we start with a basic premise: that we are stewards of everything entrusted to us. The Bible tells us ‘to whom much is given, much more is expected.’ It’s really that simple. The greatest joy is not in making money, but in giving it away.”