… That it takes more than a major league sports franchise to put a city on the map.  Don’t get me wrong, I support the Kings, and I am looking forward to a positive response by the NBA owner’s when they finally reveal their position on the Sacramento vs. Seattle struggle. A major league team lends a cache to any city who wears one [or 2 or 3] on its sleave, that cannot be accessed in any other way.  But having a major league franchise is only one way for a city to achieve recognition as a prominent player in the “media market” that is 21st century America.  One of the others is to measure its commitment to private philanthropy.

Putting the debate over the Affordable Care Act to the side, there is no question in any informed persons mind that one of the primary driving forces behind the improvement in medical treatment and public health in this country, since its inception, is private philanthropy.  The men and women of wealth who built this country left behind them a legacy of hospitals, colleges, chairs at universities and medical schools, and educational and research institutions unsurpassed in the world. It can be argued that these philanthropic acts were done as a means of expiation for various “sins” against the public good that occured  during the acqusition of the wealth that allowed their endowment, but they were endowed, nevertheless.  My reading of tea leaves doesn’t include being able to read the minds of the Carnegies, Vanderbilts, Fords, Mellons, and Rockefellers who left good chunks of their fortunes for the public good.  Nor am I able to read contemporaneous minds, such as Gates, Buffett, and the other similarly blessed entrepruneurs of my generation.  Regardless of the motives, these individuals, any many more, were moved to bequeth the fruits of their labor to the public good, and to the goal of alleviating suffering caused by disease and other infirmity.

Which brings me to the present. “Ya got trouble, folks, right here in River City.  With a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Parkinson’s.”  [My appologies to Harlod Hill, et al].  It is estimated that there are 45,000 people in Northern California that suffer from the impact of Parkinson’s Disease on their lives.  When you factor in the spouses, children, parents, friends and loved ones that are involved in some way with the PWP [shorthand in the Parkinson's world for People With Parkinson's], you have at least a half a million people in our geographic area that are impacted by PD [shorthand for Parkinson's Disease].

I wonder what would happen if we could somehow reach out to those individuals and business that pledged their support for the Kings by committing to season tickets, suites and boxes in a new arena and told them that there is another way to leave a legacy that impacts far more individuals in northern California than the Kings do, and for a much smaller investment.  In fact, I think that you would find that those individuals and companies that were financially capable of pledging for box seats, could do both, supporting both the Kings and those with PD in the local community.

I for one would feel a great deal of pride in community if along with a national news story on the citizens of Sacramento rallying behind the Kings, there was a news story about the growing sense of philanthropy in Sacramento centered around PD.  PLEASE don’t misunderstand my focus on PD, as opposed to other equally impactive chronic illnesses.  It is just that I have plenty of skin in the PD saga [having been diagnosed 18 years ago at the age of 43], and, because of this, I understand it better than any other equally worthy charitable causes.

Well, we have that chance, as both individuals, business owners and citizens of  Sacramento, thanks to Chevo Ramirez, one of the prime movers of growth and funding for worthy causes through his involvement with the Wells Fargo Fundation for many years.  As many of you know, Chevo has been diagnosed with PD, and, with characteristic style, Chevo is applying his available energy to becoming a beacon of hope to those with PD.  He is doing this by focusing the efforts, talents and philanthropic souls of those in his huge Rollodex, [for you people younger than 35 out there, that was an antiquated device, in which one kept names and addresses of one's contacts and friends by writing them down on paper and fastening them into a big metal wheel] into events in Sacramento meant to educate people about PD, and also, most importantly, to raise money for the purpose of helping develop ameliorative medicines and therapies for those who suffer with PD; funding research for a cure; and for providing education into all aspects of living with PD and its impact on the community in which we all live.

In July there will be the 2nd annual golf tournament put on by Chevo’s Foundation, and in September there will be the most impressive Luau that Sacramento has ever seen. Both events are geared to bring out the best in Sacramento, in talent, focus, energy and philanthropic spirit.  Please go to the Foundations website,, for information on how you can make this aspect of Sacramento’s growth as a major city stay on par with its place on the NBA’s map of places to be.


84 Comments on "IT OCCURS TO ME …"

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    Great post, George! I can see you’re getting the hang of it.

  2. Walt says:

    Good work, George.

    (Rolodexes forever, by the way.)

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