2015 Global Community Impact Award Winner
Gift of Life Mid-South
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
In 2007, after learning about Gift of Life International, Bill Pickens founded Gift of Life Mid-South (GOLM), which facilitates free medical service to children suffering from heart disease and similar medical conditions, as a local Rotary project. He obtained 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for the charity, formed a board of directors, and created a partnership with LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, the charity has impacted the lives of 60 children from Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nigeria, China, Kosovo and other countries by helping them come to LeBonheur for life-saving heart surgery. Surgery not only gives them normal lives, but also provides economic relief for their impoverished families. GOLM’s 18-member board and scores of volunteers provide hospitality, food, companionship and transportation to the families accompanying the young patients. Food vouchers and fruit baskets donated by restaurants and free admission to Graceland, Memphis Zoo and the Children’s Museum are supplemented by financial donations from individuals, corporations, and other Rotary clubs as well as from his Rotary’s annual golf tournament and polo match. As the “go to” person for problems that arise, Pickens spends 20-30 hours per month volunteering for the project and has personally been involved with every child since the charity’s inception.