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Making A Difference – Helping Those in Need
By Ron Cichowicz

Even in the toughest of times, Americans have shown a resiliency and willingness to reach out and offer a helping hand to those most in need.

"Claire Gaudiani is the author of a wonderful book, How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism, in which she observes that our founding fathers understood that all of us may have been created equal, but life hardly offers a level playing field," said Scott Lammie. "For democracy to work, these practical men understood that people would have to help one another, across a variety of natural divisions, in order to make the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness a reality for all."

Lammie, 53, chief financial officer for UPMC and senior vice president of UPMC's Insurance Services Division, referenced Gaudiani's work last November, when he accepted an award as an outstanding volunteer fundraiser in 2008 from the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

"My family is so appreciative that we are able to actively participate in the Greater Pittsburgh community to help advance health, education, history, the arts, the environment, and to help ensure that essential human services will continue to be delivered to all those in need," Lammie told those gathered to see him and others honored. "We are proud to be counted among the many passionate volunteers who make Pittsburgh a very special home for all of us.

"During this time of great need in our city, state, and nation, with a deepening economic recession, our spirit of generosity and giving during this time of crisis must rise again to achieve the hopes and expectations of our founding fathers."

There is no question Lammie backs up such thoughts with deeds. Among the numerous organizations Lammie has supported financially and with his time are the Little Sisters of the Poor, the free medical clinic of Catholic Charities, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, UPMC St. Margaret, Duquesne University, United Way of Allegheny County, and the Greater Pittsburgh Council, Boy Scouts of America where Lammie also chaired the 2006 and 2007 Scouting for Food campaigns.

"My motivation comes from my family and the way I was brought up," Lammie said. "It started with my mom. She was a single parent for a long period of time – my dad died when I was seven – and trying to raise five young children was certainly a challenge for her. She taught us strong family values, inspiring us to be compassionate, God-loving, God-fearing, and to care for others."

Beyond family, Lammie said he found motivation to be involved with good causes as an undergraduate at Duquesne University and through his three employers, UPMC, Arthur Andersen & Co., and Coopers & Lybrand.

"I grew up understanding and appreciating that we're all in this world together and that we have got to help each other," Lammie said. "I wasn't aware that this concept was so unique to Americans until I traveled abroad and discovered that philanthropy doesn't happen in the rest of the world nearly to the extent it does in the United States."

While Lammie has contributed financially to the many causes he supports, he is known also for sharing his time and talents as well. For the Little Sisters of the Poor, he is a member of the Finance and Capital Campaign Committees. He personally has been responsible for raising more than $500,000 toward a goal of $15 million. "With a strong business and finance background, I can offer important skill sets that frequently are much more helpful than simply writing a check. I do sometimes over commit myself.

"Of course, some of my time is also spent asking for help from others. That really didn't come naturally but I've gotten better at it over the years. I've also developed a deep respect for my professional fundraising colleagues and for all those philanthropists out there who inspire us all to be more generous with our time, talents, and resources."

When asked how he chooses a particular organization or cause to support, Lammie said it varies – and frequently it's simply because someone asked him for help.

"That was the case with the Little Sisters of the Poor. I was told there was a need to help resolve a healthcare funding issue and offered to assist. With Scouting for Food, I was approached by a professional colleague for help. Through UPMC's involvement with all these Food Drives, UPMC volunteers and community leaders have gained a much deeper appreciation for the severity of the hunger problem and related public health issues facing our region and country. It's really a national tragedy. With this greater awareness of the food insecurity facing so many families, I am pleased to report that UPMC/UPMC Health Plan has stepped up our own efforts with significant funding and leadership support for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, including support for public education, awareness, and advocacy efforts. If we all actively participate as donors, volunteers, and advocates, our community can and will eventually succeed in our Campaign to End Hunger."

Lammie said he strongly believes that everyone should try to help their community in some way. "The individual in need could be you, could be me, or could be any one of us, especially today, when we may be in for a long recession and many essential services will go lacking unless philanthropy is there to help. So people should contribute whatever they can to help others. It's the right thing to do."


YOU CAN HELP

You can reach Scott Lammie at lammiesm@upmc.edu

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