Hi! My name is Mal Secher and I am a senior advertising major with a business minor. I’m currently an intern on the Events Fundraising team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Foundation.
At CHOP, our mission drives all that we do. When I began at CHOP, I quickly learned that each person has a different ‘why?” behind working at the institution and it was clear to me that I wanted to hear as many stories as I could during my time on the team. The passion behind each individual story has been so inspirational to me and has made me realize just how powerful a company’s mission can be both to the community and to those who drive the change being made by the hospital.
Sharing our “why?” to working at CHOP with each other is very common on the job. It is wonderful to know that although each reason is different person to person, we all share a common drive to support the hospital and connect to its overall mission. To begin, CHOP’s mission is all about impact. We strive to “advance the health of children by turning scientific discovery into medical innovation” (CHOP Research Institute). How this translates into my role is fairly direct. My team works on signature events that each focus support on different areas of the hospital. Through this, our fundraising efforts are able to directly enhance transitional research and innovation that allows breakthroughs in child healthcare. When I got this position, I knew that the project’s I was working on would create impact and improve the lives of children every day, and that in itself felt like a calling to take the job. But it was not until experiencing the work we do in action and seeing how the funds we raise are utilized more specifically was when I realized just how important that work we do is to the functions of our hospital.
Most recently, I’ve supported our peer-to-peer event, The Parkway Run & Walk. This year was our 21st anniversary of the signature event that takes place on the Ben Franklin Parkway every September. Parkway supports our Cancer Center at CHOP and learning about the specific programs we are funding was a key motivator for me to keep pushing and work hard on this event. Funds raised go towards travel expenses for patient families who need specialized care only at CHOP, innovative research for rare cancer types, training and education for our physician scientists, and state-of-the-art equipment that will allow for less toxic treatment plans for children under our care. Understanding just what we raise funds for really contributed to my “why?” for choosing CHOP. At Parkway this year, we raised $2,009,581 for the Cancer Center. This is just an example from one event experience, but learning about each program and what our work is doing to allow for innovation truly fuels me. The opportunity to connect with our patient ambassadors is another element to our events that really inspires me as well.
As an intern at CHOP, I feel like I get to make an impact on the Philadelphia community and beyond every day, and that is what drives me. A career in philanthropy and fundraising is a path that I feel passionate about and would love to continue on as I look towards graduation.