2018 Spring Breakfast: grandkids, a changing climate, & you!

 

Our Spring Breakfast, held on May 17th this year, has come and gone in a flash!

If you didn’t hear, we had a special twist due to some very special guests: after our Executive Director Scott Williams spoke (who is, of course, a special guest in himself), Doug Fabrizio of KUER’s RadioWest moderated a panel with Representative Patrice Arent, Representative Rebecca Edwards, and Representative Angela Romero. Their discussion was recorded live for an episode of RadioWest…but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Let’s start from the beginning: 

Our spring breakfast is a way to come together to celebrate our supporters and the work we do, to highlight exciting things or people in our community, and to raise funds that help make our mission possible.

We had an ambitious goal of raising $50,000 throughout the month of May, with a specific focus on giving during the 2018 Spring Breakfast. We set this target because we have big campaigns which demand our attention and resources, we are expanding our work, and we had faith that you, our supporters, would help us hit this target. And, as always, the HEAL community showed its generosity, its belief in our work, and its passion for making Utah a better place by giving over $44,000! Continued giving after the breakfast has gotten us past $45,000. If you haven’t had the chance to give, you always can at www.healutah.org/donate.

Once everyone had their first cup of coffee, our Executive Director, Scott Williams, took the mic. This event marked his first 6 months with HEAL and, as he declared, the end of his probationary period should the event be a success (we are proud to say that yes, it was a success and Scott is still here). As a former pediatrician, Scott focused on the costs of protecting our children’s health. If vaccinating a child against infectious diseases costs $1,200 per child, what, then, is the cost of vaccinating our children against environmental diseases?

Scott’s grandchildren

As an organization, we work on promoting clean air and clean energy, while also fighting climate change and other toxic threats such as the disposal radioactive waste in Utah. If left unchecked, all four of these issues have direct consequences on public health. Scott reflected on this connection through his grandchildren, who motivate him daily to keep fighting for solutions to these environmental threats. With this in mind, Scott emphasized that the cost of immunizing the next generation must be paid by us, today, through our actions, voices, and collaboration.

After Scott, our special guests took the stage for a panel discussion that was recorded live for an episode of KUER’s RadioWest. The moderator, Doug Fabrizio, was joined by Representative Patrice Arent, Representative Rebecca Edwards, and Representative Angela Romero. The theme for the panel was “Utah’s changing climate,” which, as the legislators were soon to point out, goes beyond just climate change in the Beehive State. It reflects all of the changes happening in Utah — from the changing actions and attitudes of the people to the changing political atmosphere happening on the hill.

The panelists covered many topics. Representative Rebecca Edwards, while considering the passion of the students who brought forward the successful climate change resolution, spoke about the power of the next generation to make waves. Representative Angela Romero explained how to get legislation through, whether it be by rocking the boat or doing it quietly, and that environmental justice cannot be ignored when working on legislation. Representative Patrice Arent highlighted the reality that all initiatives, no matter how great they are, must be realistic and have funding behind them but that public will always have the ability to keep pushing us forward.

To hear the full panel discussion — including a look at what bills passed and failed this year, as well as the need to educate other legislators and to connect environmental issues to economics and healthcare — head to KUER’s RadioWest website and listen now.

After our fantastic panel, Mary Ellen Navas, our Board Co-Chair, spoke. Mary Ellen was direct: HEAL needs your help. Asking the audience to give as much as they could, she reminded everyone that HEAL creates its strategic campaigns based on well-researched, science-based solutions and that we aren’t afraid to take bold stands or set ambitious goals.

As a donor-based organization, we cannot continue to make a difference without the help from supporters across Utah. To keep spreading our mission, Mary Ellen asked everyone in the room to tell two people outside of the event about what they did that morning, what they heard during the panel, and why they were involved with HEAL Utah. By doing this, more people can get involved with the issues and take action.

The energy in the room was electric and we loved seeing how engaged everyone was with all of our speakers. We’d like to thank our sponsors who helped make this spring breakfast one of the best yet:

As always, none of this would be possible without you, our supporters. From those who give via their wallets to those who give their time and everyone in between, thank you for coming along with us, for sharing your opinions, and for giving your support.

The HEAL Utah staff