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America's Giving ChallengeLike any nonprofit worth its salt, ASF is on Facebook — our presence there is a terrific tool both for keeping Schweitzer Fellows and Fellows for Life posted about ASF news, and for engaging the general public in what we do.

But there’s one element of Facebook we admittedly haven’t yet mastered: the Cause app. The ASF Cause has 190 members and has brought in $135 — we’re grateful for every penny, but we know there’s potential for more.

That’s why we’re participating in America’s Giving Challenge. By successfully engaging our Facebook friends and the members of our Cause, we have a chance to win $50,000 — $50,000 that will go a long way in carrying out our mission (eliminating health disparities by developing “leaders in service” who are skilled in, and committed to, meeting the health needs of the underserved, and whose example influences and inspires others).

Please help us work towards eliminating health disparities by donating today. In addition to winning $50,000 by having the most donations to our cause between now and November 7 (you can donate once per day and have it count as a unique donation!), we can also win daily awards of $1,000 and $500 if we have the most donations in any 24-hour period.

A donation of any amount is hugely appreciated — and hugely impactful: Schweitzer Fellows met the health needs of 25,000 underserved individuals in the last program year alone. But the winner of this challenge isn’t the Cause that raises the most money; it’s the Cause that gets the highest volume of donations. That means that you don’t have to give a large donation to have a commensurate impact; you can increase our chances of winning simply by encouraging friends and family to get involved in supporting ASF!

How to do so? You read the stories of our Fellows and the communities they serve on this blog nearly every day — when you come across a particularly compelling story, or a Schweitzer project that has touched a community in a transformative way, forward the link to your friends and your family (along with the link to our America’s Giving Challenge page). If you’re a Fellow yourself, share a personal story about how ASF has deepened your commitment to working with the underserved.

And keep in mind the three ways ASF differs from other health service programs:

1.)    We are not a “plug in” volunteer opportunity. Instead of simply volunteering to fill a pre-set role, Fellows must partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a sustainable service project with a demonstrable enduring impact on that need, and bring that project from idea to implementation and impact

2.) We’re not a program you undertake when your “regular” life is on hold. Many health service opportunities for professional students are options to fill the summer gap. But as a Schweitzer Fellow, working with the underserved is not something you do for two months and then set aside when you return to your “regular life”; by conducting their Schweitzer Project while they’re in school, and for a full year, Schweitzer Fellows must learn to make working with the underserved part of their “regular life.”

3.)    We’re a gateway, not an endpoint. For the two reasons above, Fellows exit their initial year with a hard-earned blueprint for how to consistently integrate service into their (very busy) lives. They become “Fellows for Life” committed to sticking with that blueprint throughout their careers—and there are now over 2,000 of them shaping health policy, serving their communities directly, and supporting each other in sustaining a commitment to service.

Thank you for anything you can do to support ASF in America’s Giving Challenge — we are incredibly grateful.

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