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by Mary Alice Schiller, CHF Yankees Home Run Club Member
My name is Mary Alice Schiller and I have been a proud CHF donor for 20 years and counting. I’m not a fabulously wealthy philanthropist, nor am I incredibly famous or the CEO of a multinational company; I’m your average full-time worker wanting to give something back to children in need.
I learned about CHF at my first job post-college while listening to local DJ, and then CHF advisory boardmember, Dave Herman who was promoting CHF and Don Mattingly’s Yankees Home Run Club. I was intrigued: Don Mattingly was my favorite Yankee at the time (and in my all-time Top 3) and if he had a club that raised money for needy children, I wanted in. I pledged $1 of my entry-level salary for every home run the Yankees hit in the 1990 season, and promptly signed up the next season and the one after that. When Don Mattingly passed the Home Run Club torch to Bernie Williams (also in my Top 3), I upped my per-homerun donation. Two of my favorite Yankees who I respected on and off the field had chosen to head up this endeavor; and I knew then that I was sticking around for the long haul.
From the very first annual report I received, I have been so pleased to see every dollar donated used to make the CHF mission a reality. The proof is not just on paper. We toured our first CHF mobile medical van in the late 1990s; and it was impressive enough that my husband, a lifelong Mets fan, realized that every dollar we donated in the name of the Yankees was money well spent—and we upped our per-homerun donation again.
As our donations have grown since 1990, so has CHF’s reach. While never forgetting their NYC roots, we have watched CHF spread its mission to other impoverished cities, read about CHF’s amazing Katrina response, and of course followed Dr. Redlener’s well-respected advocacy efforts on behalf of children everywhere. Recently we learned that a NYC patient of CHF hopes to enter medical school after he graduates from college and give back to the community. How cool is that?
We give to CHF because we feel it’s where our donations are doing the most good; and that’s our own best reward. But I couldn’t write this post without including how appreciated CHF has made us feel over the years. Our total 20-year contributions can’t compete with what a large corporation can donate in a single year; but at a local event last year where CEOs mingled and Jane Pauley guest-spoke, when the CHF staff members learned we were the Schillers from the Home Run Club, they treated us like the VIPs of the evening!
Who could ask for more from a charitable organization?