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Take the Lead: 40 years later, changing kids’ health to change the future is more critical than ever

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Take the Lead is a blog series from Teri Nestel, president and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In this leadership-focused series, Teri will share her insights and leadership lessons alike.

For 40 years, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has strived to change kids’ to change the future. Since our inception in 1983, we’ve provided more than $8 billion in funding that has helped hundreds of millions of children get the specialized care they need at 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. We’ve partnered with our member hospitals to support them in delivering the highest quality care – and to continually improve that care – through advancements in treatments, technology, facilities and services for children and their families.

We’re proud of our role in transforming care for children. We began as a network with 22 hospitals across the U.S. that hosted telethons on local TV stations, entertaining people while giving them an easy way to support the cause of kids’ health. Although we no longer hold telethons, that same spirit of keeping the fun in fundraising continues to inspire our efforts today. And as our network has grown in size, and our fundraising programs have expanded, the collective impact of our fundraising has grown exponentially.

From the beginning, our fundraising activities have been guided by consistent principles and still are today. The most important of these is that kids come first, always. Everything we do is designed to maximize the positive impact of our fundraising and awareness-raising on kids’ health. To that end, 100% of funds raised in a local market stay in that market to benefit local member hospitals and kids.  And those funds are unrestricted, so our member hospitals can use them to meet their most critical needs.

As the health landscape continues to evolve, the needs of children’s hospitals, and the kids and families they serve, have also evolved and changed. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath will continue to affect the health of children for many years to come. Growing health challenges, like mental health, require new research, treatments and services. And an expanding focus on caring for the overall well-being of children and families requires programs that address needs like food and financial insecurity. All these issues and more make our mission as critical as it has ever been.

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2023, we are committed to growing our support – reaching more people, raising more awareness and driving more donations – so that our member hospitals are prepared for the needs of kids today and challenges of tomorrow.

Because, when we change the health of even one child or family, we create a ripple effect felt by our communities for years to come.