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Community Giving: A Hop, Skip and a Jump in the Right Direction

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Hopscotch Donation

Giving back to the community is kind of like flossing. Everyone knows you should do it. Very few actually do.

But Pediatric Associates of the Northwest (PANW) is one of those few. The practice has a long history of community support with its most recent gesture being a $15,000 donation made to Hopscotch Foundation in February 2021.

 

“It’s important to donate because we can,” says Jim Bluhm, MD. “I am thrilled and proud to say we are among the organizations that contribute both our time and our financial resources to our community.”

 

A Perfect Pairing

 

The decision to contribute to Hopscotch Foundation made sense on a lot of levels. Dr. Bluhm, who spearheaded the effort, has known Hopscotch’s founder, Dave Gunderson, for years. Beyond the personal connection, however, both organizations prioritize the health and well-being of children. PANW’s providers offer pediatric 

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Provides Food

healthcare throughout the Portland Metro area, and Hopscotch strives to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes by providing healthy food to low-income children.

 

“I think Hopscotch Foundation truly dovetails very nicely with who we are, what we represent, and what we try to promote,” Dr. Bluhm observes.

The Mission Behind the Man

 

Gunderson’s foray into nonprofit work was serendipitous. While he’s had type 1 diabetes since he was 8 years old, his life’s work was in IT, not medicine or philanthropy. But when a good friend of his started coaching football at a low-income high school, Gunderson’s own life took a major detour. Gunderson’s three kids had all been athletes, so he knew the world of high school sports pretty well. When he asked his friend who was cooking the team their weekly spaghetti dinner, however, he got a wake-up call. Group dinners, his friend admitted, weren’t part of the culture.

 

“So, I said, ‘Consider it done,’” Gunderson recalls. Except that, at the end of that dinner he hosted, he saw kids asking to take home helpings for their siblings and parents.

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Hopscotch Mission

Gunderson says he saw a void and immediately began filling it, first with homemade sandwiches he delivered himself and then, gradually, with relationships with public schools, the establishment of food pantries throughout Portland, and collaborations with big companies like Dave’s Killer Bread and KIND®, all to get healthy food into the hands of hungry kids.

Then, COVID-19 hit.

 

Suddenly, Gunderson found himself having to pivot like the rest of the world. He and the Hopscotch team, which had steadily grown since the organization’s inception in 2015, began creating boxes for families loaded with fresh vegetables, eggs, cheese, butter, milk, meat, granola bars and over-the-counter medical supplies.

 

“There are a lot of single moms in these households out there with a couple kids, and we try to save her money and give her things she would otherwise have to purchase,” Gunderson explains.

When COVID eventually recedes into the background, Gunderson plans to take Hopscotch back to its original mission of helping hungry Portland students eat the healthy food they need but can’t afford. Hopscotch’s network stretches to some 25 Portland public schools and counting, and those relationships require steadfast support.

 

“You have to build relationships,” Gunderson explains. “You can’t make cameo appearances. You have to show up, be dependable, be consistent.”

 

Worth the Effort

 

This is an attitude to which Dr. Bluhm can relate. PANW’s donation to Hopscotch, which Dr. Bluhm hopes to repeat in a few months, is the latest example of a long tradition of community support.

The most notable example of this tradition is PANW’s Community 

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Hopscotch Food

Giving program, which began 10 years ago. This enterprise awarded approximately $10,000 in small grants to some 10 different organizations, many of which were personally supported by PANW staff.

 

While COVID forced PANW to suspend that program, Dr. Bluhm hopes to reinstate it soon. And, in the meantime, PANW’s latest donation continues to create ripple effects of good within the community at large. Not only is Hopscotch providing a much-needed resource, it’s expanding its focus by partnering with Sport® Oregon to encourage physical activity among kids.

“The two ingredients for type 2 diabetes are poor food intake and lack of exercise,” Dr. Bluhm points out. But perhaps even more telling is the way this latest collaboration honors Hopscotch’s very name.

 

“When I named Hopscotch Foundation, I hearkened back to the days when you didn’t need two coaches and a ball to be active,” Gunderson says.

 

Sometimes, it’s the simple things that are the most profound. Like playing outside when it’s easier to watch TV or giving when it’s easier not to.

 

“This has not been easy,” Gunderson says of his journey with Hopscotch Foundation. “But as it’s hard, it’s also very meaningful. You not only feed the stomach. You feed the heart. And that builds communities.”

Pediatric Associates of the Northwest Physical Activity

Giving program, which began 10 years ago. This enterprise awarded approximately $10,000 in small grants to some 10 different organizations, many of which were personally supported by PANW staff.

 

While COVID forced PANW to suspend that program, Dr. Bluhm hopes to reinstate it soon. And, in the meantime, PANW’s latest donation continues to create ripple effects of good within the community at large. Not only is Hopscotch providing a much-needed resource, it’s expanding its focus by partnering with Sport® Oregon to encourage physical activity among kids.

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