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New FVIM members of the board, Paula Nicoletti and Joe Day

Paula Nicoletti, a long-time businesswoman and member of the National Development Committee of the American Lung Association, and Joe Day, a retired industrialist and expert in lean manufacturing systems, are the latest additions to the board of The Friends of Volunteers in Medicine Clinic.

FVIM is the nonprofit corporation responsible for collecting, managing and administering all funds to ensure the financial sustainability of VIM Clinic. Its mission is to support, assist and enable VIM Clinic to deliver care to medically indigent residents of Martin County who earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level and have no other access to health care.

“Now that VIM Clinic is mortgage-free, what we really need is a secure future,” said Ivins Steinhauer, FVIM president. “More and more residents are finding themselves on the economic margins. VIM Clinic is their only safety net, and that’s not going to change any time soon.”

Nicoletti, who’s helped VIM Clinic with fundraising for several years now, couldn’t agree more. She joined the board not only because of VIM’s mission, but because of “the low cost of raising a dollar.”

“When people give, they have to choose wisely,” she said. “I was never drawn to non-profits that give to never-never land.”

She sees her role on the board as a combination of “fundraising and friend-raising,” something she has considerable experience with. “Now I want to introduce people to one of the foremost charitable organizations in Martin County,” Nicoletti said.

She’s confident donors will want to become more involved when they learn “the depth and scope of the extraordinary things we do.”

Doctors Lewis Karas and Howard Voss confer with VIM Patient Gary Easley as nurse Sandra Cooper looks on.

As an industrialist noted for his expertise in lean manufacturing systems, Day appreciates VIM Clinic’s economic efficiency. He’s impressed that VIM is staffed primarily by volunteers and is therefore able to spend 98 percent of all donations directly on patient care.

“I don’t know of an organization I’ve been affiliated with that can convert a dollar of donations into $11 of services, particularly in the health care industry,” Day said.

He, too, speaks from experience. As a trustee for the 22-hundred bed Beaumont Hospital in Michigan, Day was instrumental in designing a $26-million fundraising campaign. He joined the FVIM board to help with fundraising and development because he considers VIM Clinic a very good investment in the community.

“A donation to VIM is so much more valuable and can be multiplied so many times, relative to other organizations,” Day said. “As a donor, why would I contribute to an organization that might only provide $2 worth of service for a dollar?”

After years of working with national organizations, Nicoletti likes the grassroots. “I can roll up my sleeves and know it will make an immediate difference.

“At VIM, we know where the money goes. We see it in the patient’s eyes, in their words of thanks. We make a difference in someone’s life every day. And that’s an amazing, wonderful thing.”