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Why My $230 Donation To The Clinton Foundation Was Money Well Spent

This week, the Clinton Foundation – perhaps the most scrutinized name in philanthropy – is posting the names of those who donated in the first half of 2015.

My name will appear on this list.

The $230 I gave to the Clinton Foundation isn't a large enough sum to save the world. It isn’t sexy enough to make headlines, or salacious enough to rouse cable news' talking heads.

But, as a Millennial who hopes to make an immediate impact on this earth while ultimately leaving it better than I found it, I consider my donation the most important $230 I've spent all year.

This July marks the start of my third year of training and practice as a young physician, and of paying back student loans. (Two years down, only 18 more to go!)

For me, that means any money from my resident's salary that doesn't go into New York City rent or the hands of Sallie Mae will go toward something I can feel good about.

I don't always live up to that ideal. (I'm seeking help for my Fantasy Football addiction, I swear.)

But in my search for extracurricular opportunities to help improve the lives around me, I've found that contributing to the Clinton Foundation doesn't just make me feel good, but also feels like a good investment.

Decisions that equally satisfy both the heart and mind are rare in my field. Many of my colleagues nearing the completion of their residencies are looking ahead, anticipating a fork in the road where they must choose between being a dreamer or a pragmatist.

So, it's refreshing to see the Clinton Foundation isn't bound to any such binary.

Its towering ambitions are backed by its unique model of philanthropy, which calls for building partnerships between leaders in business, government and civil society.

This new breed of philanthropy that former US president Bill Clinton has pioneered is helping several initiatives to become more efficient and effective in their efforts to improve lives around the world.

When I started talking to my family and friends about the Foundation, their responses often started with, “That's great!”

But, understandably, their support soon turned to curiosity: “So, what kind of initiatives does the Clinton Foundation actually help?

“Is it something to do with global health? Or helping families and communities work themselves out of poverty?”

“Does the Foundation help anything in America, like improving the job prospects for someone fresh-out-of-college like you? Did I hear something about closing a ‘word gap’ in early-child development?”

It gives me great pride to answer “Yes!” to every one of those questions.

While the Foundation does important work in a diverse array of challenged areas, my passion for global health leaves me particularly excited about the Foundation's mission to overcome the many roadblocks to deliver healthcare in the developing world.

Let's take the response to the ebola crisis in West Africa, for example. Doctors were critical, but make-shift nurses, local governments and even cab drivers in the region were also essential.

Eager to help them were dozens of members of the Clinton Global Initiative community, who mobilized to respond in ways such as sending medical supplies, constructing treatment centers, training healthcare workers and spreading awareness.

In CGI's case, it was a call that was heeded by organizations ranging from AmeriCares to Airlink, and from Mercy Corps to Merck. These rapid responses reinforce CGI members' long-term investments in health infrastructure, helping to ensure communities move forward after the media’s interest fades.

Such work is made possible by the Clinton Foundation's unique ability to convene leaders from different sectors – and, in many cases, unlikely partners – to forge solutions to pressing problems. This approach sets it apart from a lot of other charities.

It provides me and my colleagues with inspirational, yet feasible, models to build toward a more collaborative future in the delivery of healthcare to Americans — not just when disaster strikes, but each and every day.

I will continue to support the Clinton Foundation because it is effectively making a difference in people's lives.

I'm proud to support an organization that shares my commitment to collaborating with others for the greater good, to addressing challenges that face us here and now and to making thoughtful investments that will better society.

I have no doubt the Clinton Foundation will continue the innovative and transformational work that inspired my donation.

My name won't make the headlines this week, but I'm proud it made the list.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.

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Benjamin Cunningham

Contributor

A graduate of The NYU School of Medicine, Benjamin Cunningham, MD, is completing a Neurology residency in New York City. The Pittsburgh native is creating an initiative to improve the mental health and wellness of his fellow resident-physicians
A graduate of The NYU School of Medicine, Benjamin Cunningham, MD, is completing a Neurology residency in New York City. The Pittsburgh native is creating an initiative to improve the mental health and wellness of his fellow resident-physicians

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