Amid Crisis, Gift of Hope Interfaith Council Offers Message of Gratitude and Support

After attending a donor sabbath event in 2014 with Secretary of State, Jesse White, Gift of Hope President/CEO, Kevin Cmunt, was inspired by the desire of religious leaders to speak out on behalf of organ donation. Encouraged by the words of support from those religious leaders, Cmunt leapt into action and Gift of Hope founded the Interfaith Council in 2014.  One of the primary goals of this advisory group was to help the organization’s staff members better understand how to support the diverse families and donation partners with whom they interact to make donation and transplantation possible. Cmunt called on Aftercare Specialist, Susan Cochran, formerly a Donation Specialist, to help establish the group. Susan has recently been joined by Community Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Aguilar to assist with the council’s ongoing planning and development.

This distinguished group, which comprises representatives from various faith backgrounds, is dedicated to guiding Gift of Hope in developing the cultural understanding necessary to offer the donation opportunity to diverse families to help save as many lives as possible. The council is also instrumental in helping Gift of Hope identify educational needs around the topic of organ and tissue donation within different religious communities.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Interfaith council gathered virtually to create this video message to offer a supportive and compassionate message of thanks to Gift of Hope employees and its various donation partners – especially front-line medical professionals who are working bravely and tirelessly to save lives during this pandemic.

Gift of Hope Interfaith Council Members: 

  • Dr. Shashank Atre – Hinduism
  • Ed Young – Buddhism
  • Shiva Singh Khalsa – Sikhism
  • Karen Danielson – Islam
  • Becky Lorentzen – Bahai
  • Suzanne Martinez and Father Hurtado Domingo – Roman Catholicism
  • Father Chris Mihalopoulos – Greek Orthodox
  • Pastor Scott Onque – Baptist
  • Lori Chana, donor family member – Christianity
  • Rabbi Michael Zedek and Rabbi Victor Mirelman – Judaism.