Dear PIVOT Family,
Whenever I have experiences like our recent trip to Madagascar, I like to spend some time processing it all. If you are like me, you have trouble focusing at work the week following such trips with so many thoughts and feelings to sift through. Because I am still trying to catch up on work, I will try to keep this short.
Whether you joined us on our recent trip or not, I just want to say, thanks for being a part of our work together. I have always felt that one of the subtle components of this line of work that can be hard to explain because it can seem corny is that it is not just about altruism in a dutiful, Kantian sense. Much of this work is about connection. Paul Farmer calls it solidarity. Like many people, when I was younger, I would be disturbed by the knowledge of the suffering of others that I would systematically ignore. And an aspect of what bothered me was the sense of being disconnected from other people. It creates a void that we become conditioned to tolerate, and I think it assaults our common sense of humanity.
So I think a huge part of marshaling our efforts and resources to help others is to connect. In this sense, acting in solidarity with the poor is an answer to the indignity suffered by those being ignored.
I think an equally important part of this is that we are connected with each other. I have liked the name “Partners In Health” because it really places these themes front and center, and I am glad that we have been able to learn from them (but “partners” was already taken, so we named ourselves “PIVOT” because it evokes a strong action and means to turn around, and our logo is awesome and looks great on hats!).
This is not just squishy, feel-good, stuff. It’s a fundamental part of who we are and why we do this. One of the wonderful experiences of our recent trip is the great sense that we are working together in whatever capacity we can muster. Being rigorous, and working hard, and being nerds about the process is an important part of the way that we, as a team, function together. Through this, we connect with each other, and ensure that we are really reaching the people we aim to serve.
I loved that our trip involved families. In the most meaningful sense imaginable, we are a family-based organization. With our co-founders Jim and Robin Herrnstein having 5 little kids, there’s just no way around that.
So thanks for everyone’s hard work, pushing through, doing what you can to make us a better and more effective organization, and supporting each other.
Co-founder and Co-CEO