Immunization superheroes need your support!

If your email inbox looked like mine on December 31, it was filled with heartfelt appeals from local nonprofits about making a year-end, tax-deductible gift. You may have even received a similar email from Immunize Nevada encouraging you to be a holiday hero, and give the gift of health.

Studies show the majority of nonprofits receive the highest amount of contributions between October and December, and it’s no different for us. If you are one of the many heroes who made a charitable donation in 2016, thank you. You are helping to make a positive difference for the health of our community.

However, the causes, clients and communities we all serve need your heroic support throughout the year – not just October through December. Within Immunize Nevada’s world of public health, infectious germs and viruses don’t take breaks, hibernate or go on vacation. They can strike at any moment, and when a community isn’t fully protected – the risk of outbreak is high.

In coalitions like ours, we approach solving these and other community issues collectively – think of us as The Avengers. This diverse, committed group of individuals, organizations and institutions across the state work together to promote health and prevent disease; anytime, anyplace, anywhere. They unite their powers and leverage their strengths to save lives.

By collaborating to achieve a common goal of increasing vaccination rates, Immunize Nevada is able to maximize existing financial and human resources; grant dollars and donations received stretch farther and have greater impact. It’s exciting to report our coalition approach is making a difference. Nevada’s immunization rates are at an all-time high: 71% of our toddlers are fully protected against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases, and our adolescent rates are climbing towards 80%. But not everyone has the means to protect themselves from disease — and not everyone even understands the need to do so. Therefore, the resources we provide are utilized every day - parents seeking evidence-based information, adults looking for a location to get vaccinated, healthcare professionals updating their knowledge, and so many more.

While we still have germs and viruses to fight, we have strength in numbers and are achieving more together than we each could alone. There’s no secret intelligence agency telling us where to show up to dramatically save a crowd. You may not see front-page headlines when we save the day. But we do make an impact. Our work helps Nevadans live longer, healthier lives by protecting them through vaccination. Sounds pretty superhero-ish to me.

As you take the first steps of 2017, I encourage you to reach out and see for yourself what makes our coalition of superheroes so incredible. We can’t promise cool gadgets, but I can promise they share the same commitment to making a difference for Nevada's communities that you do.

To find out about how you, your business or organization can get involved with Immunize Nevada’s bold (but definitely not top secret) mission, visit us at immunizenevada.org, follow us on social media or contact us at 775-624-7117. You can also donate through March 23 as part of Nevada's Big Give, our state's annual 24 hours of online giving event.

 

This post orginially appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal on January 24, 2017.

Heidi Parker, MA

As executive director of Immunize Nevada, Heidi Parker, MA leads and engages a diverse coalition of staff, volunteers, member organizations and funders so they are passionate about vaccines and access to preventive health care across Nevada’s rural, urban and frontier communities. Bringing over two decades of experience in nonprofit program management, fundraising and marketing, she has dedicated her career to being able to affect her community in a positive way, whether working with Head Start families, victims of violence, college students or Nevadans needing immunizations.

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