By Jim Corum
Chair, Board of Directors
I am so appreciative of my time serving Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee as a Board Member and, most recently, as Board Chair. I continue to be blown away by the servant’s heart I witness in all who are associated with the Gilda’s Club community, particularly the staff and volunteers who’ve made “ensuring no one has to face cancer alone” their life’s work.
When I joined the Board in 2017, Gilda’s Club leadership was working to move beyond the organization’s “best kept secret” distinction. Today, we are considered one of the premier non-profits in Greater Nashville. My priorities as Chair were to help bring the Gilda’s Club program into the home and workplace; to build systems to support a growing member base; and to focus on balanced and sustained giving. Then Covid happened…
No surprise, but the pandemic created a variety of challenges that impacted how we delivered Gilda’s Club’s support program. Our members missed being at the Clubhouse and our staff missed having them, but meeting in-person just wasn’t an option. So, our Program team used national best practices and built-in ingenuity to create virtual care groups and – shortly thereafter – begin offering online workshops and classes. The result was increased member engagement, as the men, women, teens and kids we serve were thrilled to find a way to connect and learn safely from home (or any other location of their choosing).
Over the last year, our Gilda’s Club team has also worked to implement technology-based processes to ensure we’re able to welcome new members on an ongoing basis – and in ways that allow individuals to choose the approach that’s best for them: online, in-person (as restrictions are lifted), or both. In addition to offering online tours, orientation sessions and programming, we’ve implemented a variety of other systems that are allowing Gilda’s Club to increase access without the incremental back-office work. And, thanks to a Frist Family Foundation grant, our online support capabilities will very soon be state of the art, with the goal of delivering a cohesive, hybrid member experience over the long-term.
We are thankful for the many donors who have supported us through the uncertainty of the last 12+ months, enabling Gilda’s Club to end this fiscal year as one of our best years ever. I would encourage you to continue your support by attending our fundraising events and regular giving, as the need for cancer support is only increasing as life returns to “normal.”
As my small part in the Gilda’s Club story comes to an end, I am excited to see what’s in store for the future. Rather than being weakened by Covid, our collective heart for helping one another is now supported by the confidence that comes with knowing we can manage any obstacle we may face in continuing to fulfill our mission. Together, we’ve got this.