Using your leadership to make a difference in the lives of others is one of the most important things you can do in your career. Through the years, I have found that giving back to the community is a natural extension of my healthcare M&A industry focus. Leveraging your professional relationships to advance your charitable interests can create a virtuous circle that benefits both.
Several years ago, while advising on several transactions involving radiation oncology treatment facilities, I saw how staggering the cost of cancer treatment was and how little priority was given to the psychological needs of the patients and their families. I wondered if I could use my experiences to increase access to care and supportive psycho-social services. I sought out philanthropic cancer programs that might benefit from the relationships I had cultivated during my career and was thrilled when I was asked to join the Board of Directors of the LA chapter of The Cancer Support Community.
As an international nonprofit organization, CSC provides free-of-charge psycho-social care programs for anyone impacted by cancer—more than 1 million patients and families annually. CSC LA is the founding chapter and has been partnering with cancer care providers across Southern California since 1982 to provide patients and their families with complementary services such as group support, counseling, healthy lifestyle classes, education, family programs, and various social activities. These services, which help to ameliorate the stressors faced by those with cancer, are now considered by the medical community to be an integral part of quality cancer care.
By leveraging the experiences you have acquired in your career, you can enable nonprofit executives to shorten their learning curve and avoid mistakes they might otherwise make.
“A quality Board of Directors is the backbone of an effective nonprofit,” says Julia Forth, Executive Director of CSC LA. “I am grateful every day for the men and women on our Board who take the time from their busy schedules to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and families. From those in the fields of finance, legal, marketing, human resources, and many others, I know that CSC LA could not provide its life-saving services without our Board’s guidance and connections.”
I recognized an opportunity to introduce CSC’s services to executives of freestanding and hospital-based cancer care programs throughout Southern California that I had become acquainted with through my “day job” advising on mergers and acquisitions. And, since joining the CSC Board last year, I have facilitated meetings involving cancer programs whose patients might benefit from participating in CSC’s free services. This is just one of many examples in which C-suite executives and M&A professionals are utilizing the experiences gained on the job to enrich public service and volunteering activities.
Invest Your Time Where You Can Leverage Your Experience
As a healthcare M&A advisor, I have the opportunity to help innovative California-based healthcare companies attract investor and strategic interest to expand their offerings globally. Recently, our firm advised one of the leading innovators in genetic diagnostics, Ambry Genetics, on its announced US$1B sale to Konica Minolta (TOKYO: 4902). This meant more to our deal team than just being transformative for the buyer or lucrative to our client and its shareholders. This was also an opportunity for us to play a role in advancing the diagnosis of cancer by providing our client with access to new technology and a global platform.
Through Intrepid’s involvement in the LA community and efforts to facilitate transformative transactions such as the Ambry-Konica Minolta combination, I continue to seek new ways to leverage our experience to help advance charitable pursuits and help our society. I encourage all of you successful business leaders to do the same—your life will be significantly enriched by giving back to others in need.
Jim Freedman is a Managing Director, Chairman, and Founding Principal of Intrepid. With more than 35 years of investment banking and corporate finance experience, giving back to the community has always been an area of focus for him. Anyone who knows Jim knows how dedicated he is to his alma mater, UCLA. Among various other contributions, Jim is involved with UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation (JCCF) using his financial advisory experience to help the organization grow. JCCF is a public benefit corporation that exists for the express purpose of raising and distributing funds to support leading-edge cancer research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition, Jim actively supports and has been an Executive Board member of the Concern Foundation for Cancer Research (CFCR) since 2006. A volunteer-driven organization, CFCR was founded by a group of 15 friends who wanted to make sure their dollars counted in the fight against cancer when a dear friend was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer in 1968. With an annual administrative overhead of between 4% and 7%, CFCR has raised more than $60M which has been used to provide salary support for more than 750 cancer research scientists to better understand and eventually conquer cancer.
“An independent grassroots organization like Concern Foundation depends on a diverse cross-section of board members with ties to the community to further its mission to conquer cancer,” says President of CFCR Derek Alpert. “Having Board members who are totally vested in our organization and mission that make themselves available day in and day out for advice, consultation, and willingness to share their resources and connections makes my job that much easier. I am truly grateful to be surrounded by wonderful friends like Jim who care enough about our mission and take an active role within our organization. Our success depends on that kind of leadership.”
Charitable Giving Does Not Have to Be About Donating Money
Executives have been able to seamlessly devote time, make introductions, and facilitate strategic dialogue that could further not only their professional careers but also their chosen areas of public service. You, too, can adopt a similar approach of finding activities aligned with your professional expertise and leverage your work experience or relationships to further the charitable goals of relevant philanthropic organizations.
There are many ways in which we see executives help expand the capabilities and reach of philanthropic organizations. By aligning public service roles with the skills and relationships gained in your career, you can accelerate an organization’s charitable aim dramatically. And, by leveraging the experiences you have acquired in your career, you can enable nonprofit executives to shorten their learning curve and avoid mistakes they might otherwise make. This manner of giving can have a material impact on the future prospects of philanthropic organizations, well beyond a simple monetary donation, and yield substantial “profits” for these organizations for years to come.