Leading with heart

Andrew L. Smith 84M 85MR knew little about philanthropy when he joined Emory School of Medicine as the medical director of the congestive heart failure program two decades ago.

“We were just one part of a large division that was part of a large medical center, and everyone had competing needs,” he says.

He learned about philanthropy quickly after grateful patients made significant gifts to establish endowments in the School of Medicine early in his Emory career. These endowments helped retain talented faculty, start a research program, and support community events like the Atlanta Heart Walk. More people found out about his team’s successes and saw how they could donate too.

Smith liked reaching new people and connecting them to Emory, so chairing MyEmory for the School of Medicine during the recently completed Campaign Emory was a natural fit. More than 40 percent of School of Medicine employees contributed during Campaign Emory, and their continued support through the MyEmory annual employee giving program has been invaluable.

“Dr. Smith has always given, to the maximum, his talents and efforts at our institution for the advancement of our knowledge and for the delivery of care to our patients who have advanced heart failure,” says fellow cardiologist Stephen D. Clements Jr., a friend for more than 20 years.

His education in philanthropy continues. Smith recently read the bestseller Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant, a Harvard professor of organizational psychology. The book points out how those who give strategically have the greatest business success, “because if you give, you are more likely to receive,” says Smith.

The son of Emory-trained cardiologist J. Orson Smith Jr. 52C 56M 59MR, he consistently has seen how one gift has the power to attract many more. “If you look around at the needs in your department, and people there are very valued and feel positive about giving, the personal gifts that come from those feelings open us to gifts from others,” he says.