Physicians in Philanthropy Helps Providers Connect Families with Giving Opportunities

From William Cooper Procter’s transformational gift in 1928 launching us to become the research powerhouse we are today, to the recent $36 million donation from the Convalescent Hospital for Children allowing us to make a difference in the mental health crisis, we rely on charitable partners to help us advance research and improve care for the families counting on us.

“There is so much good work we need to do,” says Patty Manning, MD, our chief of staff. “Philanthropy is a vehicle to support it—especially the innovative research that leads to new discoveries.”

So many of our philanthropic supporters are grateful families eager to give back for the care their child received here. And while some are vocal about wanting to lend their financial support and advocacy, others may want to help but don’t know how to get started. That’s why the Department of Development created the Physicians in Philanthropy Program.

This initiative provides training from members of the Development team to help care providers and researchers recognize cues from grateful families who might want to give to support their work—and how to connect them with our fundraising professionals.

Manning has seen firsthand the impact philanthropy can make on our work and is one of the program’s faculty ambassadors. “I was able to start a program for children with autism spectrum disorders because of a grateful family,” she shares. “And that seed gift resulted in hundreds of others, which led to a nationally recognized center of excellence for kids with autism.”

Talking with families about money can be a pain point for some, but that’s not what the Development team is asking for—it’s just about making connections.

“When families are interested in learning how they can help or give back, it’s so easy to contact the Development team member for my division and let them take it from there,” Manning says.

Chief of Staff, Patty Manning, MD, is an ambassador for the Physicians in Philanthropy program. “This program provides the opportunity for clinicians and researchers to hone their skills around sharing their work for the purpose of receiving philanthropic support from grateful families. It helps them translate their work into something compelling and exciting for a lay audience.”

By participating in the Department of Development’s Physicians in Philanthropy program, Roger Cornwall, MD, was able to compete for, and was awarded, a $100,000 gift toward his team’s research. Development is the philanthropic arm of Cincinnati Children’s, raising funds that support hundreds of divisions and programs across the medical center.

Roger Cornwall, MD, from our Division of Orthopaedics, has been through the Physicians in Philanthropy program and agrees with Manning. “Many of us are unfamiliar with the development process and quite uncomfortable asking for money,” he says. “The program painted a picture of philanthropy as teamwork between parties with complementary contributions, where the Development officer identifies the donor’s passion and brings them to the medical expert who can show what the impact of their gift will be. It humanized the process.”

And the Physicians in Philanthropy program also offers a unique opportunity to those who participate—to present a project for a chance to win a donation of $100,000 toward their work. Cornwall is the latest recipient of the award. The gift will support his work around brachial plexus birth injury.

“This support will allow for a bold new direction for our work, with a potentially broad impact,” Cornwall says.

In addition to the monetary award Cornwall’s program received, the process also helped him and his team learn how to present their work in a way that was relatable and compelling to a lay audience.

“Honestly, the most impactful part of the process was the opportunity to articulate and share my enthusiasm for our work,” Cornwall says. “The process generated excitement on our whole team. It stimulated us to think in new directions, unencumbered by the constraints of traditional research funding mechanisms. Arriving at this opportunity in this way has us primed to approach this new direction with newfound zeal.”

Development is opening a new Physicians in Philanthropy cohort beginning in February. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Jim Saporito, senior vice president of Development at or 513-636-2509 or Lauren Bosse, senior director of Major Gifts at or 513-803-0639.

Hear from some of our grateful family supporters and staff about how you can help advance your work.

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