Why Support Public Health: Give a Gift, Save a Life

I imagine many of you make contributions to one nonprofit or another. The reasons behind your giving are quite diverse – you believe in the cause; you want to honor or remember someone through a gift in their name; or you are looking for a tax deduction. No matter the reason, as you contemplate your charitable giving, you probably wonder, “What makes this organization special?”

That’s an important question, and it’s one that staff members who work for nonprofits must ask themselves as well. So, what makes the CDC Foundation special? Personally, I’m driven by the work of the CDC Foundation as well the life-saving work of the organization we support, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And I’m proud of our 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for six consecutive years, which reflects our commitment to maximize the impact of our donors' contributions as we build partnerships to advance CDC’s work to protect people from health and safety threats. 

More recently, I’ve also been motivated by the challenges our nation faces. One of these challenges centers on how to bring the U.S. government’s expenses in line with revenues. Similar situations face many cash-strapped state and local governments.

No matter how these negotiations play out, it’s clear that government at all levels will not be able to provide all the essential funding it has in the past. As a result, a wide variety of causes could be negatively affected. These effects will challenge locally focused causes, such as feeding disadvantaged citizens in a community, as well as population-focused issues, such as those CDC is involved in related to national and global health. Importantly, more than 70 percent of CDC’s funding goes to state and local health agencies and other partners to protect communities across America.

In light of diminishing support from government, it’s vital for nonprofits to be able to help fill the void. 

How will that happen? I believe there are two pieces to this puzzle. First, a nonprofit must be able to show donors – individuals, foundations and businesses – how their cause makes a difference to society. Second, it’s up to individuals and organizations to respond and offer their support and commitment to the cause.

As 2012 winds down and you consider your final giving opportunities for the year, we hope you consider supporting the vital – and demonstrated – work of the CDC Foundation, which supports the life-saving efforts of the CDC. There are a variety of programs where you can lend your support, such as:

  • Safe deliveries for mothers in Kenya,
  • A compassion fund for global health workers working alongside CDC in the field who are killed or disabled doing their jobs,
  • A fund to support CDC’s emergency response efforts, or
  • Bed nets for children.

Also, you can provide an unrestricted gift that the CDC Foundation can apply where it’s most needed. Of course, we can also partner you with CDC for a specific public health project.

To find out more about supporting CDC’s work through a gift to CDC Foundation, visit our holiday giving page. This year, we hope you’ll give a gift, and save a life.


Chloe Tonney is the chief innovation and strategy officer for the CDC Foundation.