MedShare CEO Attends 2014 Social Innovation Summit at United Nations in NYC

My first visit to the United Nations turned out to be a memorable one. It was the location of the 2014 Social Innovation Summit along with the JP Morgan Chase Building. The Summit represented the convergence of corporations, nonprofits, and the philanthropic community coming together to bring about social change while addressing some of the world’s most complex, yet basic issues. It truly represented the endless possibilities and results of when Business Innovation meets Social Transformation.

Over 500 participants from around the world met for two days in New York City to network and share ideas to drive innovation and garner the necessary funding to execute critical programs. There were some amazing ideas discussed, but here are a few that I would like to highlight.

The Science of Philanthropy – This further confirmed my belief that nonprofit organizations (NGOs) that understand and use data to drive their fundraising activities are, and will continue to be, the most successful ones. Countless examples were given how organizations used data to understand and appropriately cultivate the “right” potential donors. Many organizations waste a lot of time and resources cultivating the “wrong” potential donors only to end in disappointment for all involved. Also, it is key to find the right balance between the art and the science of fundraising.  Numbers often do not tell the whole story. Remember the human factor. People are very passionate about “their” cause. They give from the heart and not the head.  Another point made was that smaller NGOs should collaborate to achieve scale. Often groups may be more successful in obtaining funding because of the greater impact of the collective. Obviously, there must be mission alignment.

Reviving a Community One Brownie at a Time – The story of Greyston and the impact that this company is having on the community of Yonkers, NY, was beyond inspirational. The notion that a for profit company using nonprofit ideals to bring about social change and strengthen families and communities provides a blueprint for success that should strongly be considered by others. Greyston, known for their wonderful brownies, uses an Open Hiring Policy. You do not need a resume, application, pass a background check, or any other traditional hiring prerequisites.  Simply show up, put your name on a list and complete an internal training program.  This policy has resulted in over 50% of the workforce being former inmates. The impact this has had on their lives and the community is immeasurable.  Dion Drew, lead operator and former inmate himself, talk openly about the impact on his life they Greyston has had. Working meant being able to provide for his family and decreasing significantly the likelihood that he and others like him would return to a life of crime. The community is stronger and Greyston’s profits are soaring.

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(At right, MedShare CEO Charles Redding with Make A Stand Lemon-Aid’s founder Vivienne Harr.)

Life Is A Fleeting Story, Tell It – It is difficult to explain the feeling that came over me as I listen to Vivienne Harr, a 10 year-old  San Francisco Bay Area girl who took a stand when she was 8 years old to free 500 kids from slavery by selling lemonade for 365 days.  This meant that she would have to raise $100,000. What started as an idea to address an issue is now an official social purpose corporation. Her company, Make A Stand Lemon-Aid, gives half its profits to antislavery organizations. The key breakthrough for her and the ability to reach her goal was when she removed the price and asked people to give from the heart. This and many other successful stories follow a distinct flow – People, Places, Plot, and Purpose.

  • People – the fact that an 8 year-old girl wanted to help other children is what captured the attention of people willing to listen and then help.
  • Places – knowing that the issue was global (including the U.S.) resonated with a very wide group of people. The issue was real. “It was in my backyard.”
  • Plot – Children, slavery, say no more. Kids being sold into slavery and forced to carry rocks and perform other atrocious acts, pierces the heart of anyone with a soul.
  • Purpose – Finally, the reason for doing this – raise $100,000 to free 500 kids from slavery. The impact of doing this is much greater after you understand more about the People involved, the Places that this is occurring, and the current situation.

Many nonprofits are so proud of their mission that they do not take the time to “tell the story.” Who are the people that are impacted? Where are they located? What is the current situation and how can we help? Thank you, Vivienne for Making A Stand.  I was able to get a photo with Vivienne and the book, Make a Stand, chronicling her journey. I highly recommend it to anyone that has ever asked the question, “Why not?”

These are a few of the fascinating topics discussed, which included everything from genome sequencing to address health and environmental issues to using gaming methodology to teach young, at-risk kids how to solve complex linear equations.

The conference closed with a very inspirational story of how Victor Cruz, wide-receiver for the New York Giants, overcame personal tragedies and setbacks to rise to the top of his game.  He now gives back to the community, especially the Boys and Girls Clubs, to ensure greater opportunities and positive outcomes for youth. Actress Jessica Alba shared her passion for starting her company, Honest Company, which focuses on making amazing products without harming people or the planet.  She also gives a significant amount of her products and profits to those in need. There are so many companies that understand that it is okay to do well and to do good.

Companies present included Microsoft, Google, HP, Intel, JP Morgan Chase, and Panera Bread. My sincere thank you to Ashley Lenz and Henry Schein for inviting me to represent MedShare at such a thought-provoking, solution-minded event. The networking opportunities were incredible.  I am energized and my resolve renewed. MedShare can and will be a driving force in strengthening communities locally and globally. If an 8 year-old girl can make a stand, what will MedShare and other like-minded organizations do?

 

 

Atlanta native Charles Redding named CEO and President of MedShare

ImageThe MedShare family welcomes Charles Redding as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, effective May 5, 2014. Redding succeeds Meridith Rentz, who served as the organization’s CEO and President for the last three years. Rentz resigned in April 2014 to spend more time with her family. Her last day at MedShare was May 2nd.

“Charles has a keen global perspective and a strong vision for MedShare’s ongoing commitment to making the world a better place,” said Thomas Asher, MedShare’s board chair. “What Charles has done for MedShare in just two years is outstanding. He is the right person at the right time to take our organization to the next level of service excellence for our recipients worldwide.”

Redding has been MedShare’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2012. He led the company’s efforts to expand into the Northeast by opening a Sorting & Collection Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. Prior to this role, he held a number of senior management positions with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) including the first Plant Manger for Ethicon in Juarez, Mexico and Director of Asia Pacific Operations, where he was based in Shanghai, China and managed facilities in China and India. His latest role at J&J was that of Vice President of Global Operations for their Aesthetic Medicine business. He was responsible for 1200 employees in the U.S., France, The Netherlands, and Mauritius and managed a 200 million dollar budget. A native of Atlanta, Redding graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering, and received a certificate in Team Management from the Daniel School of Management at the University of South Carolina.

“It’s an honor to be leading MedShare as our 15th anniversary year comes to a close,” said Redding. “The support and commitment of our board of trustees, regional council members, staff, and volunteers will help us make an even greater impact on the health care of the recipients we serve in local U.S. communities and around the world.”

Founded in Atlanta in 1998, MedShare sources essential, surplus medical supplies and equipment, and delivers them directly to underserved populations worldwide while lessening the impact of medical waste in the U.S. Its ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life of people, communities, and the planet.

Since its founding, MedShare has mobilized thousands of community volunteers, corporate, hospital, and nongovernmental partners to ship nearly 1,000 forty-foot containers to hospitals and clinics in need in over 95 countries, including free clinics in the U.S. In addition to Atlanta, MedShare has offices in the San Francisco Bay and the New York City metropolitan areas.

Western region volunteers see MedShare’s impact first-hand on trip to Tanzania

Our volunteers consistently go above and beyond in their service to MedShare. In the summer of 2013, MedShare’s Western Region volunteers came together to raise over $22,000 to ship a container of much-needed medical supplies to a hospital in Tanzania. But that wasn’t enough. Some volunteers decided to travel to the recipient hospital in Tanzania to volunteer their time and talents on the ground.

In mid-February 2014, Camille Harris, Fran Jursco, and Nancy Menne traveled to Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania. MedShare’s 40-foot container was still en route at the time, but they hand-carried additional medical supplies from MedShare’s Western Region Distribution Center as well as specially requested items for the hospital staff.tanzaniamap2During their stay in Shirati, these intrepid volunteers provided meals for patients at the hospital, toured the facility, and got to observe Dr. Chirangi in the operating room. “Fran and I were recognizing all the stuff we sort (at MedShare): bovies, tips, vicryl sutures, drapes, etc. [in the operating room]. Camille decided surgery was not her thing so she folded gauze for future surgeries,” said Nancy. “Even though it appears we will miss the arrival of the container, this has been a very fulfilling trip to see just how desperately our work at Medshare is needed.” The volunteers reported that most of the supply cabinets in the hospital are bare and Dr. Chirangi was already using the supplies they brought with them.

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Above: Fran Jursco serving food to the patients at Shirati Hospital. Photo credit: Nancy Menne

 The group has left Shirati and is now travelling through other parts of Africa.  Nancy writes: We have said goodbye to Tanzania and it was sad to leave. Dr. Chirangi had all his department heads waiting to see us off when we came to say goodbye. Each one of them were so grateful for the work all of the volunteers at MedShare do, for the volunteers putting in the effort and money to ship the container, and for the expense we undertook to travel to Shirati. It was an unbelievable experience, and made me truly understand how much is needed in developing countries where they have no clean water, walk several miles to school each day, no nutritious food at the hospitals or schools, and basically just fight to survive.” 

What an eye-opening experience and incredible testament to the importance and impact of our work at MedShare. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing these insights from your trip. And thank you to all of MedShare’s volunteers and supporters who go above and beyond every day to make our work possible. We are grateful for your dedication to our mission to bridge the gap between the surplus of medical supplies in the United States and the need in hospitals like Shirati KMT Hospital in Tanzania

MedShare container has arrived in Shirati!

Editor’s Note: The 40-foot container with medical supplies and equipment sponsored by MedShare’s Western Region volunteers was shipped from the U.S. west coast in November 2013. It arrived at Shirati KMT Hospital on Monday, March 10! See photos of the arrival below.
TanzaniaPicsBlog

Biomed Volunteer Gives MedShare His Summer and Gets a Jump Start to His Senior Year

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Robert at work on a vital signs monitor.

Robert Charkowicz, a 20 year old college student from Castro Valley, CA, volunteered for the summer at MedShare’s Western Region Distribution and Volunteer Center. Robert, who is studying Biomedical Engineering at UC Davis, spent 2-3 days a week this summer working in the Biomedical Lab.  Adept with the computer Robert assisted with the Biomedical Publications Library establishing a naming/organizational structure for operation and maintenance publications. He researched equipment publications on line to find repair information and resources increasing our library and maintenance capability. These publications will be sent out with the equipment to the recipients in developing countries so that they can operate and repair the equipment when needed.

Robert also assisted with daily work, conducting inventory of equipment and testing and repairing equipment.  The equipment included items such as: Vital Signs Monitors, ECG, NIBP and SPO2 equipment, CPAP machines and respirators/nebulizers, surgical tables, ultrasound equipment and an anesthesia machine.

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Volunteer Robert Charkowicz and MedShare’s Biomedical Technician Rene Steinkellner in the lab.

He’s now returning back to UC Davis to start his Senior year.  We will miss his work and his presence here at MedShare, and wish him all the best in his future.  The work that he completed here at MedShare will continue to enhance the success of our mission providing medical equipment to those in need.