I had the pleasure to interview Carolyn Salvador, CEO of Enduring Hearts. Salvador is a powerhouse! Her work ethic is intense and she is a result driven leader. It’s hard to imagine that the world isn’t like you, but she recognizes her driving force and she won’t stop as she’s very passionate about her work and the mission of Enduring Hearts. As fierce as Salvador is, she’s also very elegant and compassionate and you can hear it in the tone when she speaks about the research and fundraising side of the business. I truly enjoyed interviewing Salvador and all of us here at Social Lifestyle Magazine looks forward to covering Salvador and all of their upcoming events.
SL: Congratulations on all of your success with Enduring Hearts. Can you share how you started with the organization?
CS: I have a long history of working and/volunteering with nonprofits that focus on the needs of children. Prior to joining Enduring Hearts (EH), I led the State of Georgia’s Association for Early Education and helped that organization dramatically grow both their revenues, membership and improve them achieve their mission’s objectives. I was approached by someone that attending my college who was helping EH find a EH/CEO that could help expand their footprint and bring more funds to help children with heart failure. Once I learned about the mission and met the team, I was hooked and joined EH in 2017.
SL: What does your day to day look like?
CS: Since we are a small team, I wear a lot of different hats throughout the day, switching gears from business management to marketing strategies to discussing innovative heart transplant research with our doctors. As the CEO, I am intimately involved in developing and executing the organization’s strategic vision as well as working in the community/industry to expand brand awareness and strengthen the impact we have on research. Our goal is to fund research which will make a heart transplant become the ultimate lifelong cure so with that in mind, my focus is developing new opportunities and pathways to make this become a reality.
SL: Share with us the work you, the doctors, researchers and others do to reflect the mission of the organization and help the heart transplant families.
CS: We fund research specifically directed at transplant longevity and improving the lives for children living with a new heart. Enduring Hearts has assembled an incredible team of top doctors and researchers which comprise our Scientific Advisory Committee. These brilliant minds peer-review our research investments, utilizing the most current and novel scientific discoveries to ensure that we fund the most innovative studies which will impact the lives of children who are living with a new heart today. We prioritize and weight our funding decisions of grants on those that have the ability to reach the “bedside” within 5 years.
In addition, we have a menu of programs that provide tangible support for pediatric heart families as they go through their transplant journey.
SL: Share a proud story/moment with us on how the research benefited a pediatric heart transplant patient.
CS: Since Enduring Hearts has been only funding research for less than 6 years, our research is just at the stage to be reaching the bedside. We are excited that we have funded over 47 different studies, many which have gone on to get additional larger grants, including million-dollar grants with the National Institute of Health. As the only organization dedicated to funding in this arena, we frequently receive letters from families thanking us for providing hope to them for their child’s future so that they can have the chance to live out their childhood dreams!
SL: I know events play an important role in fundraising. How did you pivot during the pandemic?
CS: We were fortunate to have our marque event prior to COVID, so that was a blessing. We wanted to continue our plans of expanding our name recognition into other markets, so we added two new virtual events. The first event was a virtual run, called the “Race for Resilience” which was held during the 17 days leading up to World Heart Day. The 17 days represented the 17 years that a heart transplant, on average, lasts. This was a successful event with runners in both Canada and the US. We raised over $60K and was our first virtual fundraiser.
In addition, in early 2021, we kicked off the year with a virtual poker tournament which was a big hit! We had over 330 players online, streamed the event on Twitch with our poker-host Jeffrey Gross and raised over $115K. These events were a nice balance of family-oriented and donor specific events that helped us spread our mission and raise funds.
SL: We hear that Richard Seymour, 3x Superbowl Champion NE Patriots, 7x Pro Bowl and 5x All Pro team and Albert Sye, Owner Mean Circle Ventures, are friends of Enduring Hearts. Can you tell how they have/will use their notoriety to amplify the awareness of the organization?
CS: Richard is a big poker player and joined us for our online poker tournament. He and Albert were moved by our mission and reached out to get involved. Their company 93 Ventures is supporting our Bourbon Gala and Auction as a sponsor. We have met to discuss how we can work together moving forward to increase our mission awareness. We are very excited to be working with them and their support of our research.
SL: I see that you have several events coming up. Can you share a little on each of them and how supporters can get involved.
6th Annual Bourbon Gala and Auction, Belmont Stakes Edition June 5th, 2021
Join us at www.ehbourbongala.org
- Live Watch Party for Belmont Stakes
- Professional Entertainment
- 11+ Whiskeys on Tasting Menu
- Gourmet Southern Cuisine
- Van Winkle Family Bourbon Raffle
- Wine Pull
- 50+ Silent Auction Items
- Rare live Auction VIP Experience! Includes private jet service to the Buffalo Trace distillery, VIP tour, and a private barrel selection of Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey from Sazerac and accommodations at the New Private Stagg Lodge overlooking the Distillery!
- Can’t join us? Bid on a silent auction item, support our research drive, buy a Pappy Raffle ticket, or donate an item for our auction. For more information, email@example.com
CHARity Golf Tournament Benefitting Enduring Hearts– 8/2/21-Laurel Springs Golf Course, Suwannee, GA
This is NOT your typical golf tournament but a party on a golf course with food stations throughout the course and no-charge beverage carts on every other hole.
Tickets/sponsorships at one.bidpal.net/ehgolf21
- Audi Atlanta Hole-in-One contest – win an A5 Premium Sport Back
- Closest to Pin Putting Contest
- Live Auction
- Silent Auction
- Bourbon Bar & Bites (At After Party)
- Breakfast & Cocktails at Practice Tee (featuring Bloody Mary’s, Transfusions, Mimosas & Screwdrivers)
- Hydration Station on site
EH Challenge Fund for National Giving Tuesday
From 6/1 through 9/1 we will be building a National Giving Tuesday Challenge Fund. We will use these funds to challenge the public to match the generosity of those who have already given on National Giving Tuesday 11/30. To become a Challenge Fund Supporter, email Kelly@enduringhearts.org
11/30/21 National Giving Tuesday: A global day of community giving around the world.
Check our Website for all other upcoming events including a Late Fall Virtual Online Poker tournament.
SL: Where would you like to see the organization in 5 years?
CS: It is important to the families that we serve that we are continuing to make progress toward improving the length of time a heart transplant lasts. To do this, Enduring Hearts needs to ensure that we are growing our research program and ensuring that the most promising studies get to the next level of funding so that we can see change happen in the clinical practice meaning; it is impacting the lives of children. We would want to be able to be in a position to fund larger clinical studies which are necessary for the adoption of such change to take place.
SL: You never know who is reading this interview. Who would you like to see become a celebrity ambassador for the organization and why?
CS: There are a lot of wonderful people that I could name quickly but a few that come to mind are celebrities that have ties to heart defects and organ donation.
The first is Shaquille O’Neal. His son, Shareef was born with a rare Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) that wasn’t detected until he was a teenager. CHD’s are the most prevalent birth defect, impact 10,000 children per year and ¼ of them are severe. CHD’s are the leading cause for pediatric heart transplantation.
The next celebrity that comes to mind is Katherine Heigl. Katherine adopted a baby that was born with a CHD and needed open-heart surgery. In addition, Katherine is an advocate for organ donation to help improve access to transplantation, after her own brother was killed in a car accident and they donated his organs.
Last, but certainly not least we would love to reach out to Jimmie Kimmel as his son was born with a severe CHD, Tetralogy of Fallot which is basically the combination of four heart defects at birth. His son is doing well and we think he would be a great advocate for pediatric heart research.
SL: Many of our readers are philanthropic and like to get behind great causes. How can they get involved?
CS: We are looking for people to volunteer their talents for our organization as well as to support our research and family programs with donations. We are always looking for creative individuals that can help us with design work, marketing strategy assistance and SEO work.
Sign up for our newsletter online and don’t miss out on volunteer opportunities as well. Supporters can consider rounding up small change which can make a big difference.
If someone would like to create their own online fundraiser, they can create it on our website or go to our Face Book page and share it with their own networks. Many people do this for their birthdays or special events in honor of a loved one.
We love creative ideas, so if anyone reading this has an idea for a fundraiser that they would like to conduct for Enduring Hearts, they can reach out to us directly and we can assist them too! Kelly@enduringhearts.org
SL: It was a pleasure to speak with you and learn about the great work that you and your team are doing for Enduring Hearts. Good luck with all of your upcoming events and we look forward to seeing you there.
CS: It was a pleasure speaking with you and sharing my passion for the work that we all do to make a difference in the lives of pediatric heart transplant patients. We look forward to seeing you at our Bourbon Gala!