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The Power of Giving

Sullivan, Katherine J. PT, PhD

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: June 2008 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 103
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e31817767f9
President’s Note

President, Neurology Section

During the Neurology Section business meeting at the Combined Sections Meeting in Nashville, TN, Section officers presented to the membership a motion to make a $100,000 donation over the next five years to the Foundation for Physical Therapy. The membership unanimously accepted this motion, confirming our Section’s support to help the Foundation raise a minimum of $4 million for physical therapy research.

“Destination: Research Excellence” is the Foundation’s first endowment fundraising campaign that will affect the profession, now and in the future, by growing the investment dollars available for strategic research ( Our Section joins other association individuals, components, sections, and industry partners in advancing the science of physical therapy. This is consistent with our Section’s own history of giving that started with the Mary Lou Barnes and Patricia Leahy Doctoral Student Scholarships that were started in 1992 to the successful $355,000 Neurology Section Foundation endowment of these scholarships that was completed in 2005.

Why do we give and when should we give? All of us are inundated with requests to give to our local communities, colleges or universities we have attended, charitable causes, and, of course, our profession. As one who respects the power of giving and the gift to be able to give, I have searched websites, books, foundation missions, and so on to uncover an answer of why and when to give. Through this inquiry, it may be derived that one gives to:

  • Support something you are passionate about.
  • Give back to others who have affected you in a positive way.
  • Make a lasting impact.

Often we have the best intentions to give but do not have the opportunity to adequately invest the needed appraisal to ensure that our dollars are going to a worthy cause. These are the times when relying on a trusted source, with whom we share common interests, passions, or values, can be a guide. Why would one choose to give to causes supported by the Neurology Section? One should expect a reputation for results from those to whom we give. Our Section has a reputation for both innovation and results. We were the first Section to support doctoral scholarships to prepare physical therapists as research scientists. Our past doctoral scholarship recipients have gone on to be leaders in research and education, and through their disseminated results, have had an impact on practice. In addition, we were the first Section to fully endow our scholarship program.

The impact of giving is perhaps the most important factor when one decides to give. When you give to the cause you are passionate about, that provides you the chance to affect others who have affected you, and you give to the institution or cause that can get the results you expect; then you will have the chance to see the faces of giving. I have seen it—in the faces of the therapists who treat the patients, in the patients who have taken their first independent step, in the family member who sees the unexpected in someone they love on the road to recovery. I am sure you have seen it, too. This is the true power of giving.

Thank you for your support of our Section and our preeminent cause: to improve the function and quality of life of individuals with neurologic disease or injury through education and research that advances neurologic physical therapy practice. Through your membership, we can continue to build on our history of innovation, results, and giving.

© 2008 Neurology Section, APTA