During a legal career that spanned several decades at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, LLP in Los Angeles, Art Fine knew all about non-profit organizations.
After all, they were his clients.
Little did he know, however, that that experience would prove invaluable in a very successful second career in philanthropy.
Fine, who still practices – but moved to Scottsdale, AZ a decade ago – is a key board member of Aloha Medical Mission (AMM) where he is the coordinator of the non-profit’s surgical missions. As such, he has overseen a dozen surgical missions and improved the lives of many, who otherwise might have mired in a life of despair.
“There are two kinds of philanthropy,” said Fine, who is 52. “There’s donating money, which is a wonderful thing to do, especially for busy professionals. There is also another kind of philanthropy, which is more personal. You give your time to the philanthropic organization. When I was a full-time attorney, I helped various charities, like the Nature Conservancy, when I could. I liked that experience. So, when I started reducing my time at the firm, I looked for a way to become more involved with another cause.”
Fine found that opportunity in guiding AMM and its surgical missions.
Orchestrating such missions is no small feat. First, Fine identifies an area of the world that is grossly underserved from a medical standpoint, since AMM
only accepts patients who cannot afford and generally do not have access to surgical care. Fine then makes the connection with the appropriate governmental and medical officials to confirm the trip. Once an agreement is reached, the planning begins – six months of planning.
AMM provides all the necessary operating instruments, operating supplies, anesthesia drugs, and medications. Normally, the team brings in about 1000 lbs. of supplies. If not consumed on the mission, the supplies are generally donated to the hospital facility that hosted the mission.
A typical AMM surgical mission team consists of four surgeons, four anesthesiologists, nurses, dentists (if requested), and a limited number of lay volunteers, who primarily train locals to be prosthetic hand fitters and fit prosthetic hands. Each surgical mission lasts five to 10 operating days. Each day, the AMM team typically performs 20 surgeries.
Fortunately for Fine, he has been able to focus more on the logistics area of the prosthetic hand initiative, which was a passion of his because of his past involvement with the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation.
Fine’s partner in life shares the same committment to AMM
Marjorie Fine, a surgeon for UCLA Medical Center, first heard about AMM from a fellow surgeon and shared the opportunity with her husband. Together, they approached AMM, a non-profit founded in the early 1970s, which at the time were primarily providing free dental services in Hawaii to those who didn’t have access or couldn’t afford dentistry services.