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Donor Stories

Donor Spotlight: Jean Howard

Jean Howard is one of the founding donors to the AMA Alliance Grassroots Honor Fund and a past president of the AMA Alliance and the AMA Foundation.  She is married to William Howard, MD, an internal medicine specialist in Traverse City, MI. The couple has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Why I feel it is important to be involved in philanthropy:
Philanthropy is important because it satisfies that inner need we all have to give back to our communities, bring about positive change and help those in need.

Why the AMA Alliance supports the AMA Foundation:
Alliance members remember the struggle when our spouses were in medical school so these memories help us understand the importance of financially assisting medical students through the AMA Foundation.

Why I support the AMA Alliance Grassroots Honor Fund:
Seeing the honor fund grant the first scholarship will be a dream come true for me!

Most fulfilling aspect of my work with the AMA Foundation:
Serving on the Excellence in Medicine awards selection committee and reading about the careers of physicians who help those who can't afford medical care was very rewarding. 

How I hope my donations have helped others:
I hope I have helped someone go back to school, get a fresh start, become a productive member of their community and understand the need to help others when they are able to do so.

Something not everyone knows about me:
I have a twin sister, Joan.


Donor Spotlight: Russell Kridel, MD

Donor honors stepfather for serving as role model with named fund

Dr. Kridel, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in private practice in Houston, and his wife, Cheryl, have been supporters of the AMA Foundation for nearly a decade. They are the founders of the Kridel-Brown Fund that serves as a tribute to Dr. Kridel's stepfather, Leonard Brown, MD, an OB/GYN. 

"Growing up, I observed his devotion to his profession and to his patients. He was a role model to me and I wanted to let him know that I was trying to follow in his footsteps," explained Dr. Kridel.

How did you become involved with the AMA Foundation?
The good work of the foundation was highlighted at the AMA meetings I attended. It was supporting projects that I thought were admirable, that helped the community as well as needy medical students.

How did you select the AMA Foundation as the charity to help you give back?
The AMA Foundation provides an opportunity to support projects close to the hearts and minds of physicians.

What would you like others to know about the AMA Foundation?
The projects of the foundation tell the public and our patients that we truly care about their health and well-being.

Tell us something not everyone knows about you.
Before placing my vinyl albums in storage to go to medical school, I was a disc jockey and thespian.


Donor Spotlight: Peter B. Kang, MD

Annual Fund Donor Appreciates Need for Unrestricted Giving
Excellence in Medicine award introduction to AMA Foundation

Dr. Kang has transformed from an AMA Foundation grant recipient to a donor.  At the 2009 Excellence in Medicine Awards ceremony, Dr. Kang received a Leadership Award, and as many leaders do, he began contributing to the AMA Foundation Annual Fund the following year.  Now he is a charter member of the Annual Loyalty Circle, the AMA Foundation's giving society that recognizes donors who make an unrestricted gift of $1,000 or more within any calendar year.

"The Leadership Award was a great honor that helped inspire me to continue on my chosen career path," Dr. Kang said.  I will value the recognition from the AMA Foundation for the rest of my life. The awards ceremony was a revelation to me.  I still remember that evening, and how humbling it was to hear about the immense accomplishments of the others who were being honored."

How did you decide to apply for the AMA Foundation Leadership Award?
I did not know the AMA Foundation well when I applied, but had the impression that it was an organization that valued both leadership and scholarship activities. 

How did you decide to support the AMA Foundation?
Now that I understand the depth and scope of the Foundation's work, I felt that it was important that my wife and I support the Annual Fund.

How about the Annual Fund in particular?
When I make donations, I choose organizations I feel I can trust and try to give them as much flexibility as possible. I know it can be difficult to work with restricted funds.

Tell us something not everyone knows about you.
My wife and I enjoy cross-country skiing on a dairy farm.


Donor Spotlight: Gerald Harmon, MD

Foundation Excellent Choice for Giving Back to the Profession
Donor Honors Council on Medical Services

Dr. Gerald Harmon and his wife, Linda, are decade-long donors to the AMA Foundation and recently became founding donors to the Council on Medical Service (CMS) Honor Fund. A family physician and an AMA South Carolina Delegate, Dr. Harmon has been elected twice to CMS.

Why giving is important to me:
Almost every medical student application includes the phrase, "I want to contribute/pay back to society". Giving via the AMA Foundation is a small but highly important step in walking that talk.

How the AMA Foundation supports the AMA:
Almost every endeavor undertaken by the AMA Foundation serves the AMA mission, from public health outreach to support for minority scholars in an era of increasing medical school debt. Donors get the satisfaction of knowing their contributions are well targeted for maximum benefit to the profession and the AMA.

Why I support the Council on Medical Service (CMS) Honor Fund:
My wife and I wanted to make sure we expressed our appreciation to the council, its past and current members, and superb management staff.

Something not everyone knows about me:
I was an amateur boxer including Golden Gloves matches while in college; I stopped when I realized I was risking what little brain tissue I had!


James L. Milam, MD
Donor Spotlight: James L. Milam, MD

Legacy Society Member Believes in Giving Back

City and State: Libertyville, Ill.

Schools: Louisiana State University, Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Mexico

Dr. Milam is an OB-GYN who is part of a group practice in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Dr. Milam and his wife Cathy, a nurse, have been supporters of the AMA Foundation since 2003 when they donated to the Uniting for the Future of Medicine campaign.  The Milams decided to continue supporting public health and medical education programs after their lifetime by joining the AMA Foundation Legacy Society.

Why I feel it is important to donate to charity:
My grandfather taught me that there are three great callings in life: education, health care and serving as a man of the cloth. Everyone has to pay rent in this life; everyone has to give something back.

Most fulfilling aspect of donating to the AMA Foundation
It is rewarding to do good work for people who are less fortunate. As human beings, we have to take care of each other. The AMA Foundation does just that.

How I hope my donations have helped others:
I believe it is important to do our part to help young people attend medical school. Medicine is evolving and there may not be enough doctors to keep up with the aging population.

What I’ve learned through my involvement with the AMA Foundation:  
I have been surprised by the incredible generosity exhibited by many physicians. A bit of friendly competition can also motivate physicians to be even more charitable in their giving.

Something About Me Not Everyone Knows:
When I was a 18, I worked at a shipyard and on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you are interested in learning more about planned giving or the AMA Foundation Legacy Society, please contact Jane Erb,(312) 464-5852.

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