“Money is like water. It can be a conduit for commitment, a currency of love. Money moving in the direction of our highest commitments nourishes our world and ourselves.”
― Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money
My path towards philanthropy was a winding one and, like most people who end up working and fundraising for nonprofits, I never dreamed that this is the work I would do.
I come from a large Irish-Catholic family. When I was little, I wanted to be just like my dad. As the Vice President of his father’s business, he had a lot of responsibility, but inside he was a kid and loved to play, laugh, get silly, and connect with anyone he met. He loved people and was the most generous person I’ve ever known. Together, my parents enjoyed hosting large family and other social gatherings at our home and I remember there was always laughter and a sense of belonging. Early on, I began to see the joy the comes through connection and the joy service brings. You really do get more from giving than receiving.
Maureen and her mom
I Am My Mother’s Daughter
While I wanted to grow up and be just like my dad, my mom has always deeply tethered me to service, rooting me in the beauty of giving. After she raised her children, my mom returned to work as the CEO of organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters; Health Action New Mexico; the New Mexico Council on Crime & Delinquency; and worked with the Governor of New Mexico on special programs for children. My mom was also the first co-director of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) founded by Richard Rohr, who saw a deep need for the integration of both action and contemplation. My mom was part of the vision for the Center to bring people together for a more just and connected world.
Eventually, I realized that while my way in the world would be my own, it would also follow in her and my dad’s footsteps. I honed my focus and chose to pursue a Master’s of Art in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The experience helped me finetune my understanding of nonprofit management. The deeper I got into this work, the more I knew this was my path. This led me to pursue my Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE) credential, which was my own way of showing my commitment to ethical fundraising.
Giving is Love
Today, in my role as Chief Advancement Officer at PMD Alliance, the biggest and best surprise about this work is how, every day, I get to see how much good there is in the world and how one person, in their own way, can make a difference. Philanthropy is about connecting, discovering what donors care about, and how, together, we can make a difference in the world with our gift of time and resources. Everyone has treasures to give.
Philanthropy is a big word and not everyone can easily relate to it. But, at its heart, the meaning is simple: it’s the love one has for humanity and it’s giving, connecting, and supporting. At PMD Alliance, each member of the team is a philanthropist because they make gifts and join the generous community of supporters who believe in and support our work.
You Can Make a Difference
What I want you to know is that you are powerful: when you choose to support PMD Alliance, it has deep impacts on the real lives of our community. Donors will often ask, “What can I do to help?” or “How do I make a difference?” The simple truth is every gift made to PMD Alliance educates, connects, supports, and encourages people to live more fully in a real and connected way.
PMD Alliance meets people where they are on their movement disorder journey, and our work is only possible because of the donors, corporate partners, volunteer Ambassadors, doctors, advance practice providers—everyone in this space who believes in the work we do. The entire Movement Disorder Care & Support Ecosystem© is uplifted when you make a gift. In that way, you help PMD Alliance fill a unique space, one that supports everyone impacted by a movement disorder—the person with the movement disorder, and, importantly, the care partner, adult child, support group leader, medical team, and more.
A Free Tool to Build Your Legacy
I believe you deserve to align your future with your deepest values: you can build a legacy. There are many ways to make a planned gift to PMD Alliance through your will, retirement plan assets, and life insurance. When you make a planned gift, it’s a generous way to provide lasting support that will continue to sustain the work of PMD Alliance for years to come.
This is why we’re offering you a free tool from a reliable source, FreeWill, that will help you plan for your future by building a will. The unfortunate reality is that nearly two-thirds of Americans have not attended to their estate plans at all. Many people struggle to contemplate their mortality. Others are simply daunted by the prospect of engaging counsel or the anticipated legal fees they would incur.
Our hope is that by providing a self-help will, created simply, it will provide documentation that expresses your desires for your estate, no matter where you live in the United States. Our goal for partnering with Freewill is to give you access to the creation of a will without the expense of working with an attorney directly, allowing you to build your legacy.
Why I Give
Beyond working at PMD Alliance, I am a monthly Impact Partner, meaning I make a monthly gift to the organization. My reasons for giving are personal. A few years ago, my mom, my guide to service, Patricia Simmons, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Giving to PMD Alliance makes me feel part of something larger than myself. It helps me know that, alongside PMD Alliance, I am doing my part as an adult child to support an organization that so generously gives to others.
Giving is also a part of my personal values and principles. Having the power to improve the lives of others is, to me, a privilege and helps me to live in a way that is true to my ethical beliefs. As my mentor Lynne Twist said, “Most of all, I’m grateful to have commitments that are bigger than my little life starring me, and that has given me a path that has been a great gift.”