Kimberly Hunt Lee, Partner at McCabe and Mack LLP, has been volunteering for various organizations in her home Mid-Hudson region of New York State since she started with the firm over 22 years ago.
Among the many benefactors of Kimberly’s energy and expertise is Vassar Brothers Medical Center (VBMC), a part of the Nuvance Health Network, which includes 7 hospitals and several outpatient settings throughout our area and into western Connecticut.
According to the website, Vassar Brothers Medical Center began serving the Hudson Valley region in 1887, less than a decade before McCabe and Mack LLP opened its doors. The 350-bed, award-winning healthcare organization boasts a brand new Patient Pavilion with 294 private patient rooms, 13 surgical suites, and a 66-room emergency and trauma center.
As Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for VBMC and Member of the Ambassadors Club of VBMC, Kimberly has been actively involved in raising the funds needed to bring the vision for this Patient Pavilion to life, along with doing the urgent work of ensuring that the hospital has been well-positioned to navigate the global health crisis that is Covid-19.
Here are some of her thoughts on the experience of volunteering with this pillar of our community:
A. It was a longtime family friend, Randi Petrovits, who introduced me to the idea. Randi has been involved with Vassar for many years in various volunteer roles. I had a meeting with Randi & Ann Armater and if you either of them, you know you can’t say “no” to them. As I learned more about the hospital and its work beyond my own wonderful personal experiences there, I knew it was a good fit.
A. As part of the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Foundation Board, our main goal is to support fundraising efforts for the hospital. Naturally, the pandemic brought with it an increased need for funds to build capacity, support staff who were working extra shifts, and to ensure that we had the purchasing power to secure essential supplies. Everyone really stepped up their efforts to raise money and also to raise awareness; we did so much outreach from the moment we first learned of the pandemic. We touched base with donors, kept the community informed, and tried to communicate what we were seeing and learning so that people could understand what they needed to do to protect the well-being of themselves and their loved ones.
A. The spirit of generosity throughout the community was really moving – everyone wanted to help. But there’s no question that Covid created challenges for all organizations trying to raise funds. The cornerstone of our Foundation’s success has always been our events – and all of those had to be put on hold. We didn’t get to host our gala, clay shooting event, or anything. That was hard on the Foundation as we typically rely on event revenue each year. That said, though – VBMC Foundation has such a broad reach and donors both old and new to us wanted to chip in – so direct donations came in, along with some more unique gifts; all of it helped us continue to thrive.
A. Many community members wanted to do something special to build morale for health care workers, so they would set up a pizza party or send lunch from a local restaurant as a symbol of appreciation. This was so deserving and meant a lot to our team at Vassar Brothers Medical Center; they were all working tirelessly. Some of them didn’t even get to go home at night for fear that they’d been exposed to the virus at the hospital, so they were sacrificing time with their own families as a result of their job and these meals and gestures from the community helped give them a boost. Local hotels did their part in terms of giving too, taking care of these employees who couldn’t go home to their families. Our entire community found ways to give – and it all helped.
A. To serve as part of something that is so significant for so many is an incredible experience. I love that Vassar is deeply committed to being on the cutting edge and providing sophisticated, evidence-based care, but also maintains that close-to-home, familiar atmosphere where people can feel comfortable and connected. With ever-expanding recruitment efforts for talent in new areas of expertise, our local community can be confident that we’re all getting top-notch care right here without having to go into Manhattan – and we can all feel right at home every step of the way. And now through the partnership with Marist College, the vision for becoming a teaching hospital is becoming a reality, allowing us to cultivate talent among students as well.
A. Each quarter, a mailing goes out which shares stories of patients whose incredible outcomes and success stories speak to the exceptional care they received at Vassar Brothers Medical Center. Reading these accounts is always a reminder of why access to an innovative hospital like Vassar is so important. We also have the benefit of hearing from different doctors or specialists who come to our board meetings to teach us about various topics. They talk to us about the research and development they’re doing, or how they’re implementing new technologies, or what they’re doing to improve care. It’s always enlightening and inspiring to see what’s happening.
A. Walking through The Patient Pavilion after working with the group to support the fundraising efforts of Ann Armater, who recently retired, was so gratifying. Her passion for that project and her ability to keep everyone engaged – from conception through construction to completion – it was truly amazing. Now we have this state-of-the-art facility at Vassar with individual rooms that will promote faster healing and better outcomes; I’m so proud to be part of a Board that worked on something so transformative for patients.
A. Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer! You meet people, develop relationships, and learn about something you might not otherwise be familiar with. The experience of serving is humbling at times, but always deeply rewarding; there are so many emotions and lessons. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone, but you always learn something new about yourself and your community. And there’s always some way in which you can be helpful. For example, I’ve supported Rebuilding Together Dutchess County. Now, if you put a hammer in my hands that could be scary – but there’s always something each organization needs that I can help provide. I don’t need to construct a home to be helpful – there are other ways to serve. So it’s important not to shy away from these opportunities – we all need to jump in and do our part and each one of us needs to remember that we always have something we can give that can help make a difference for others.
Kimberly Hunt Lee has served the community in myriad ways, and has also earned recognition as a Top 40 Under 40 winner in addition to receiving the Family Services Spirit of the Future Award, and gaining designation multiple times as a Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Star. Learn more about her areas of legal expertise, along with her volunteerism, at https://mccm.com/kimberly-hunt-lee/.