NYBCe Blood donor and financial supporter Rob Kirk.

Robert Kirk

New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) is a non-profit, meaning it relies on philanthropy to continue collecting and distributing blood, conducting groundbreaking research, and fighting against COVID-19. While 2020 was a difficult year for many, blood and plasma donors and financial contributors stepped up to help the organization through this time of crisis.

One such constituent is Robert Kirk of Westchester County in New York State. Though Rob’s monthly contributions have helped the Enterprise throughout the pandemic, his support of NYBCe actually spans more than a decade.

Recently, Rob answered some questions about his relationship with NYBCe and explained why he’s continued to support the organization — both through blood donations and financial contributions — for so many years.

Q: What is your relationship to New York Blood Center Enterprises? What attracted you to their cause? 

Rob: I became familiar with NYBCe through the New York Blood Center shortly after I moved to New York City in 2004. That wasn’t too long after September 11 attacks, so having that event in the back of my mind and remembering how New York City responded to it made it clear that blood donation was a positive way to give back to the community.

I’ve since moved away from the city but, at the time, I was looking to find some way to give back to the community. The New York Blood Center seemed to provide the best return per time spent.

Q: How often do you donate to NYBCe — both in terms of blood donations and philanthropy?

Rob: I’ve been giving blood and contributing financially for quite some time now. Like I mentioned, I began donating blood in 2004, so I think the financial support started a little bit after that.

As far as philanthropy goes, I give a set dollar amount every month. With blood donations, I donate when I can — whether it’s every 45 days, every two months, or longer. It depends on my schedule and on which component of blood I donate.

Q: You mentioned that you no longer live in New York City. Now that you’ve moved, what motivates you to stay involved with NYBCe?

Rob: I keep coming back to the work they do — especially during some of the darker moments in the city’s history. Between their response to the September 11 attacks and now the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Blood Center Enterprises is an important pillar for the healthcare system of New York. Even in good times, NYBCe is essential for the city to succeed.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important work that NYBCe does?

Rob: Quite honestly, I don’t know if I could pick one thing.

A number of years ago, I was able to take a tour of NYBCe’s research facility in Long Island City and meet some of the research staff. During that tour, I learned about some of the other areas that the Enterprise impacts like the National Cord Blood Program and sickle cell research.

If you’re a parent whose kid experienced trauma and needs a transfusion, then blood collection and distribution are the most important work NYBCe does. If you have COVID-19, then convalescent plasma collection is the most important thing they do. It’s just so varied — it’s hard to answer that question.

Q: How does donating to NYBCe — either blood or funds — make you feel?

Rob: It feels great. It’s something you can measure and say “I contributed to something today that positively impacted someone’s life.”

When you donate to an organization, you don’t always see the impact of your contributions. But with NYBCe, you do. It’s great to be able to support New Yorkers — and others around the country — on your schedule.

Q: You already mentioned your trip to the Long Island City facility, but do you have any other anecdotes about NYBCe or their cause that really moved you?

Rob: This isn’t really an anecdote, but it is a note about the culture of NYBCe. One of the aspects of the Enterprise that I find really impressive is the way the organization is run. They approach their work in a creative, entrepreneurial way. I really respect the fact that NYBCe has moved into other parts of the country and merged with other facilities to expand their reach. This is an example of why this is the premier blood center in the country.

NYBCe is the best at what they do, on both the logistics and science side. That definitely motivates me to support their mission.

Q: Why do you think others should donate to NYBCe?

Rob: I would ask others to look around themselves right now. You’re bound to know someone who could benefit from the Enterprise in one way or another. During the COVID-19 pandemic, especially.

Also, whether you’re donating blood or giving funds, everyone can find the time to support the organization. That’s the beauty of it. If I want to give blood on Saturday at 3pm, I can make an appointment for Saturday at 3pm. If I want to make a financial contribution, I can give online right now. It’s that easy.

I’ll also say that, at the end of the day, you never know when you’re going to be on the other side and need one of NYBCe’s products or services.

NYBCe relies on financial contributions from generous constituents like Rob Kirk in order to provide vital healthcare services to communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. These services include collecting and distributing convalescent plasma to hospitals, conducting antibody tests, and maintaining an adequate blood supply. NYBCe also requires financial contributions to conduct lifesaving research and train the next generation of leaders in cellular therapy and transfusion medicine.

To help NYBCe fulfill their mission during this critical time, give via their online donation form today. For other ways to give, visit our Support Us section. You can also contact the Fund Development team directly for more information on NYBCe’s philanthropic needs. To schedule an appointment to donate blood and help NYBCe after the COVID-19 pandemic caused their supply to drop to dangerously low levels, visit donate.nybc.org.