A moment with: Eric Barkyoumb

Barkyoumb FamilyEric Barkyoumb is the Manager of Philanthropy at Dignity Health Foundation - East Valley in Chandler, Ariz. In November of 2020, he celebrated his second anniversary with the foundation.

Prior to joining our ministry, Eric worked in professional sports. He joined the Phoenix Suns before transitioning to the Arizona Cardinals to work in corporate sponsorship sales, marketing and relationship management. In that capacity, he served as a liaison between the Cardinals organization and Dignity Health, slowly developing an interest in joining our ministry. The births of his daughters created a grateful patient experience that cemented his desire to make the transition.

Tell us about your role at the foundation.
I focus on creating relationships with individuals in our community who might have an interest in assisting us in advancing health care here in the East Valley as well as organizations, locally and nationally, whose mission might align with our own. I look for chances to connect those people and those organizations to offer opportunities to help us advance health care in a meaningful way.

What would you tell someone who is just entering our field?
I would start by saying that it’s amazing to see your work result, either directly or indirectly, in an elevated level of care for members of your community. I would encourage them to hold their head high knowing that the work they’re doing makes a difference for people. I think it is important in our line of work to pause when those moments present themselves … to reflect on the difference being made. It’s too easy to move on to the next project, grant or event, but it is really important to pause and allow yourself some joy when the work you were involved in leads to our mission growing and advancing.

Is there a specific donor story that stands out to you?
I remember very specifically a women who was connected to us through the Guardian Angel grateful patient program. After talking with her and listening to her story, I shared with her how the program works and how it creates a beautiful closed circle of gratitude and care recognizing a member of our team formally and permanently. We discussed how the hospital benefits from the generosity of our grateful patients.

After the fact, she made a comment to me that she was grateful to us for helping her find this opportunity to say thank you. It was such a small thing but it resonated with me because sometimes we’re afraid to “make the ask,” but this was a beautiful moment where an individual wanted to connect with her care team and we educated her on a way to do it. Not only did we give her that opportunity, but her gratitude grew through the process.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you want to be doing?
If I weren’t doing this, I think I would be back in the world of marketing and relationship management because being in that role of a liaison between an organization and its people and partners is an area where I excel. But … I’ve always loved the idea of being a firefighter. If I weren’t in this role, I might give that a try to see if I have what it takes.

Outside of the office, what does relaxation look like to you?
Relaxation for me is spending time with my family. It really does fill my cup. I also really enjoy the game of golf. I can’t imagine there’s anybody on the planet who’s golfed more and been as bad as I am – but somehow it still brings me joy!

Finally, finish this sentence: Philanthropy is….
Philanthropy is a genuine desire to see other people succeed or prosper in some way. It could be wanting people to enjoy greater health, have greater educational opportunities or have a better quality of life. Philanthropy takes that desire and puts it into action in some way … giving of yourself whether that be your time, talent or treasure to allow others to succeed or prosper.




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