It’s not unusual to lose touch with old friends as we age and move around. Hank Libby moved around a lot after leaving his native Louisiana. He earned Ivy League degrees in law and finance, practiced law and venture capitalism in Washington, D.C., took sailboats across the Atlantic, and settled in Annapolis.
But, Hank has never forgotten his rural Southern roots or his friend back home. “When I was about 20,” Hank explains, “I had a very good friend who saved my life. Quite sometime later, I found out he was dying of cancer (in rural Louisiana). He couldn’t afford a doctor and had no access to medical care.”
Hank quickly got the man to a New Orleans hospital. It was too late to save him, “but I told him at the time that it isn’t right, and I’m going to take care of your family, and I’ll take care of trying to get them access to medical help.”
Hank has expanded that commitment to his friend through his support of AAMC’s community clinics, and through his service as an AAMC Foundation Board Member and Founding Chair of the Community Health Philanthropy Council.
Hank believes community clinics are vital. In Annapolis, like almost everywhere, he says, too many low-income and uninsured people go to the emergency room for ailments that could be treated elsewhere. It’s terribly expensive, he says, and it’s unwise medically, because the patients “don’t form a relationship with a doctor.”
“With the clinics, patients are treated in a place of comfort with respect and dignity,” Hank explains. “They pay a little bit if they can, and they grow to trust the doctors and return for continued and preventative care.” Outreach to the underserved has grown from one to three clinics in the time Hank has been involved. He says, “I was on the ground floor of establishing the Forest Drive Clinic, for which I am particularly proud.”
Access to medical care for the underserved is near and dear to Hank and his family. Through Hank, the Carol M. Jacobsohn Foundation, founded by his aunt, gave a matching challenge grant that provided significant support to the AAMC Community Clinics.
Hank encourages potential donors to recognize the leverage of tapping into matching grants. “When you tell them it’s going to net two or three dollars for every dollar that they put in,” he says, “it has an impact. I believe in matching gifts.” With Hank’s leadership, it has certainly made a significant impact on AAMC’s community clinics.