Wearing his Arizona Diamondbacks jersey, number 44, Paul Goldschmidt sits at a small circular orange table with a young woman wearing an Ohio State t-shirt. She has a feeding tube in one of her nostrils and an IV attached at her wrist.
She’s gesturing with her hands as she talks with the Diamondback’s first baseman and hospital volunteer and philanthropist.
Goldschmidt and the young woman add to the noise in the room, people talking and laughing, cameras clicking and flashes flashing.
Some people wear name tags or hospital ID cards hanging around their necks. Half the crowd hold cameras or microphones.
An oversized bank check prop leans up against one of the mic stands.
Goldschmidt and his wife Amy are here at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to present a check for $186,121.94, money raised last November through their charity fundraiser Goldy’s Bowling Bash. The second Bash is already planned for early 2018.
Such financial support for hospitals, coming from individuals and corporations, is now more commonplace, and essential.
Betsy Chapin Taylor, president of health care philanthropy consulting firm Accordant Philanthropy, gives some background in Trustee Magazine on how and why private donations are so important to hospitals.
“‘We’ve seen such a perfect storm in health care finance over the past few years,” she said. “With significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments and the shift from volume- to value-based care, organizations increasingly need access to revenue that can power their plans”
Like Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
“Operations are not necessarily the lion’s share of net revenue anymore. Philanthropy is one of the greatest diversification opportunities out there, and we have to chase it,” she said.
Goldschmidt gets up from his conversation with the young woman. He’s tall and stocky and healthy. He gets behind a microphone and tells the small crowd why he feels so good about the Bowling Bash experience.
“They were supporting the community, supporting the families, they were supporting the patients. Supporting what I would say would be all of our neighbors. You don’t know who’s in here. It could be any one of us. It could be your neighbor next door and down the street.”
The young woman talking with Goldschmidt is 17-year-old Makenzie. She looks tired. She came in a couple days ago on this visit. The first time she was admitted was about two and a half years ago.
“I’ve been here many times. At least every month for the past year.” A chronic condition brings her back.
“The issue is chronic, but every time I come in it’s more of an emergency.”
Her blue eyes are steady as she talks about the last few years, missing school, adjusting friend connections, doing homework at the hospital.
“I did sophomore and junior year online because of being in the hospital so much and just not being able to attend school and I’ve gone out of state a lot.”
She likes the idea of steady income, and wants to get a job.
“It would make me feel more like a normal kid. Like, to be able to, like, work and make money for myself and provide somewhat for myself.”
One routine expense is her coffee habit. She likes trying out new flavors at Starbucks, and buys coffee and flavors for making at home. That all costs money.
While she talks about paying for her own coffee, Paul Goldschmidt gets ready to present the big check to the hospital, money to help pay for more space, staff, equipment.
Stuff that benefits Makenzie. So Makenzie can focus on school, and getting a job, and paying her own way, helped out by a guy whose name and reputation she didn’t know until today, until he put a jersey on, and sat at a table with her and they talked.