August 7, 2012

What’s in a Name? Everything

Author National Philanthropic Trust

For years, my brothers and I have been searching for an appropriate way to honor our beloved Annie Eason.  Annie was our housekeeper, our “other mother” and a member of our family for over 63 years.  For us, recommending a grant in her memory wasn’t enough. We wanted to name something of importance and permanence after her as a reflection of the way she impacted our lives.

My brothers and I did not want to “buy” naming rights with our grant. We prefer to know how our grant money is spent and, where possible, observe and measure the impact it has. 

We researched libraries, community colleges and other organizations in Annie’s hometown of Ahoksie, North Carolina. We wanted to find a charity that reflects the values that were important to Annie and which she instilled in us.  Finally, early this year, we discovered the Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie.

Our family chose to fund a pediatric asthma program—a gift for which the hospital graciously agreed to name the children’s care unit after our “other mother.”

We would like to especially recognize the Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and Vidant Health for their courage and foresight in honoring an ordinary citizen of instead of simply selling naming rights to the highest bidder.  In so doing, they have set a precedent and an example by bestowing such an honor on a fine human being, an ordinary woman of extraordinary goodness, our Annie.

This morning, we cut the ribbon of the renamed Annie Eason Children’s Unit.  It fills my heart with much love, gratitude and pride to know that we could memorialize an important role model in our lives in such a meaningful and appropriate way. I hope Annie would feel the same way.