Backstory: Stella joined the renowned South Florida pediatric hospital in the summer of 2018 after serving as chief administrative officer for University of California at Los Angeles Mattel Children’s Hospital. In addition to the American Heart Association, her personal philanthropic interests include local nonprofits that serve the needs of children—such as the March of Dimes and Make-A-Wish (Stella serves on that board).
Pandemic relief: Amid day-to-day challenges facing the hospital during COVID-19, the team at Joe DiMaggio continued to educate families, including forums such as Baby University and Parent University, with some of the more than 650 physicians on staff providing much-needed virtual information. The hospital also was firm in its support of more than three dozen organizations focused on the health and education of children—among them, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Junior Achievement of South Florida, Jack & Jill Children’s Center, Miami-Dade Public Schools, and YMCA of South Palm Beach.
Snapshots: “It’s difficult to find the words that describe how health care team members are feeling after experiencing our first global pandemic. The amount of stress, fear and anxiety that has been hovering over us for the past several months is unprecedented. Front-line staff members are true heroes—that cannot be overstated. Coming to work and dealing with a disease that is barely understood takes immense amounts of courage. I have deep respect for our caregivers.”
Pandemic lessons: “This year has taught me one thing—that no matter what kind of adversity comes our way, the human spirit is strong. As a team we can work together, support one another and get through anything.”
Backstory: The former executive director of the Stonewall National Museum & Archives and, before that, executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., joined Our Fund in December 2015. “Coming from a marginalized community and being able to leverage that experience to secure resources to create a better life for LGBTQ folks is a privilege,” he says.
Pandemic relief: Through the launch of its Resilience Fund at the onset of COVID-19 (with investments from its board-restricted fund matched by gifts from supporters), Our Fund ultimately delivered two rounds of emergency aid—a combined $610,000—to more than 30 LGBTQ-plus organizations in the tri-county region.
Snapshots: “It was a special honor [recently] to observe the reverence and ritual of a food pantry supported by Our Fund. Long lines of people gathered an hour before the pantry opened. These are proud people who have been thrown a curveball by the pandemic that placed them in a situation they never imagined. But the power of generosity—both financial and volunteerism—met the moment and eased the situation for many. The grace and gratitude that was shared between those on both sides of the pantry line was palpable.”
Pandemic lessons: “There is an urgency to philanthropy during COVID that makes my role at Our Fund especially gratifying. Many people are suffering as a result of the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic, so the call to those of means whose lives have gone on uninterrupted carries with it a weight and criticality that can be both daunting and energizing at the same time.”
Photos by James Woodley