Miami resident Austin Gaines’s immersion
into medical philanthropy began as a teenager, a time
of life when people are generally more worried about
finagling allowances than donating to medical institutions.
Now 22 years old, when Gaines was 13 he
took $5,000 he’d
received in bar mitzvah gifts and raised another $10,000
to start the Joan G. Gaines Breast Cancer Fund in honor
of his mother. Joan Gaines is a ten-year breast cancer
The beat also goes on for her son, who
continues to organize events that raise money for breast
In fact, after earning a bachelor’s degree in business
management and organization from the University of Miami
in May, Austin Gaines became a professional fundraiser.
After graduation he accepted a position as capital campaign
coordinator for Camillus House in Miami.
A fundraising event has to be “fun and interactive” in
order to attract young philanthropists, according to
Gaines. As an example, he cites an event he put together
where the wives of Miami Heat players participated in
a fashion show, and raffle tickets for a new Lexus were
Education is also key, Gaines says. “I think it
needs to be explained to young people why medical philanthropy
plays such an important role in our community.”
A young man whose most profitable event
to spur breast cancer awareness generated $65,000 and
who has raised
more than $200,000 toward that cause, Gaines plans
to eventually own a fundraising consulting firm.