Faith and Impact

We’re a little giddy after Sunday’s Seattle Seahawks come-from-behind football game. Four days later, it’s still the first topic at every meeting and conference call. I think we relish it so much because it’s rare that positive experiences are shared by such a huge cross-section of community. Sports can be such a great equalizer.

After the game, the players and coaches all talked about their collective faith in one another.

Mike Flood, Seahawks VP and a friend of WGHA says the Seattle Seahawks are a “unifying force” in the community. It’s true. Being united around a goal—whether it’s a sports team or a health issue—is inspiring and invigorating.

It’s easy to see how a sports team measures success. The number of touchdowns, tickets sold and TVs tuned to the game. As all of us working in global health know, measuring our mark can be more nebulous. Despite great progress, defining how we assess our impact is challenging, to say the least.

At WGHA, our goal is to add value for our members to expand their outcomes. We hope a measure of that value can be quantified in the partnerships created, the connections made and the cultivation of global health champions. To that end, we are proud to offer the first analysis of WGHA’s annual impact here.

Highlights include averaging one partnership or connection made every working day last year (255); reaching nearly 7,000 people at events in 2014, and more through social media; leading 44 events and reaching influential audiences including foreign ambassadors from 29 countries and Washington’s own Governor Inslee.

2015 looks to be our most exciting year yet with an economic analysis of Washington state’s global health sector and a new mapping project. (If you get an invitation to participate, please reply. If you haven’t gotten one and should, let us know.)

We are evaluating the ingredients for WGHA’s success so other regions can replicate the recipe. We’re connecting WGHA member organizations with important partners including CDC Ebola leadership and military researchers. Our partnership for a water and sanitation project inspired by the Seattle Sounders is moving forward. We will also host our second annual Pioneers of Global Health Awards dinner in October. Stay tuned for that date.

In a perfect world, people would rally around global health causes the way they do a sports team. Personally, I am inspired every day by dedication of our members. They’re in for the long haul — for years and even decades. They believe in their ability to make a life-saving impact – in most cases for people they will never meet. Talk about faith!

And while I continue to trust in their ability affect great change, in a week and a half I will also be rooting wholeheartedly for my hometown football team in the Super Bowl. We all need some balance in our life. Go Hawks!

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