A moment with: Eli Irvin

Eli Irvin.

Eli Irvin joined CommonSpirit Health in January of 2020 and serves as a philanthropy system support analyst, working with our fundraising offices across the ministry.

In addition to his work with CommonSpirit, Eli is an active community volunteer with multiple organizations in the Savannah, Georgia area and is working through a ministry program for the laity of the Episcopal Church. Currently in year three of a four year program, Eli will be eligible to be ordained as a deacon in the church upon completion.

Describe your role with the organization.
My role is to make it easier for the foundations to serve our communities. That entails being available to demystify technology and to help get past barriers that often exist with technology and processes such as HIPAA … making sure we don't cross any PHI barriers or things of that nature. My specialty areas are in donor wealth research and website building and maintenance.

Tell us about your background and how you came to CommonSpirit.
Originally, I worked for a company that developed electronic medical record software. That gave way to working for a managed service provider serving slightly larger medical practices and whole hospitals. In 2010 as the economy struggled, my position was eliminated and I went to work for Blackbaud as a Net Community support specialist. I slowly transitioned into the world of donor wealth research, which is when I started developing a true interest in being present for philanthropic giving and I knew that I wanted that to be a part of my life.

Danny [Robles] called Target Analytics support one day and I was running that team. I worked with him on getting an answer to his problem and the story goes that he scribbled my name on a post-it note and decided that if there was ever a position open at CommonSpirit, they would knock on my door. About a year after that interaction I got the phone call from Danny. I still pinch myself.

What do you love most about your job?
There's an extremely human element added to absolutely everything that we do at CommonSpirit Health. There is nothing that goes on here that is strictly mechanical. The end goal of everything that we do has a human face on it and usually it has a human face of need.

We call our business and what we do “ministry” and it is, not merely because it's tied to the church, but because we are meeting people where they are. My sense is that if we can lead by that example, not just in the way that we operate philanthropy but in the way that we meet the rest of the world … then we're positioned particularly well to really have a positive impact on people's lives.

What did you want to be growing up?
High school band director. I had a less than optimal childhood and the two things that kept me out of trouble were music and Star Trek. I had three band directors in middle school and high school who took a particular interest in my career as a musician. Not only did they work with me as a student, they worked with me as a person. I saw the ways in which they interacted with different kids. They were some of the best teachers that I'd ever had.

Outside of work, what does relaxation look like to you?
It can look like one of several different things, and it depends on how I’m feeling. It can be cranking out tunes on my guitar. It can be volunteering and doing work at the film studio that I work with or it can be sitting quietly in the living room reading.

In the last few years I’ve become an avid camper. So it might look like going out in the middle of the wilderness in a camper with nothing but solar, water and some supplies. That might not be considered relaxing but you know it gives me an opportunity to put the brain on “numb.”

Finally, finish this sentence: Philanthropy is….
Philanthropy is the way in which we meet the world, in its needs, using the grace that we've been given. The way I meet the various ministries that I'm engaged in is based on four basic questions: Does it heal the sick? Does it feed the hungry? Does it cloth and shelter the poor? Does it love and comfort the marginalized? I think philanthropic endeavors, especially those such as ours, have a responsibility to do those four things and answer those four questions in the affirmative consistently. I think CommonSpirit does that consistently.