At FirstMed they like to think that running a company is something more than keeping an eye on the bottom line, as any business must do to stay financially healthy. Founder and managing director Dennis Diokno is a firm believer that his is a two-way street, and FirstMed is obliged to give back to the community that has helped him and his staff succeed for 17 years.
In the business world it’s called “corporate social responsibility”, or CSR, but of course not all companies bother. “I guess you can say that I have always had a philanthropic side,” says Diokno. “While in one way FirstMed has done a good job by creating jobs, I have always believed in doing a bit more to help those around us.”
Going back to the very beginning, in its first year the clinic was lead sponsor in organising a golf tournament that benefitted Gézengúz, a foundation for treatment and rehabilitation of babies and children with birth injuries, and other charities.
Over the years this support has spread to include the Red Noses Clowndoctors, who bring fun and smiles to the sick, the Bátor Tábor (Bravery Camp) foundation, the International Women’s Club of Budapest, and as main sponsor for five years of the annual Bonfire Night party organised by Budapest website XpatLoop, a big money-raiser for Hungarian health-related charities. (This year’s party is coming up on November 4 in the Marriott Hotel ballroom.)
A number of organisations, then, have benefitted from FirstMed’s charitable activities, and this assistance includes not just financial help but backing by staff, who contribute their time and expertise, for instance if a worthwhile event needs a doctor or nurse in attendance.
Motivating and involving the staff is important to the company, and when the Robert Burns International Foundation organised its annual curling competition (the sport, not hair), FirstMed sent four teams as well as sponsoring the weekend.
Sometimes complimentary health checks can be provided to raise money via raffle or auction prizes. Occasionally individual requests for assistance can be considered, such as for Raphael de Colnet, a young Budapest-based Frenchman who participated in this year’s Budapest to Bamako rally on his motorcycle, who was provided vaccinations. The rally in total raised over EUR 600,000 of aid, delivered through West Africa.
“I’d say we have been pretty generous being a sponsor or giving prizes to various organisations over the 17 years, but this year I joined the board of United Way Hungary, who we were already supporting, and I have been nominated to represent United Way Hungary regionally, so this is going to become a FirstMed priority from now on,” Diokno says.
United Way Worldwide, based in Virginia, US, is a non-profit organisation that identifies and builds on community strengths and assets, helps individuals and groups with specific community interests find ways to contribute their time and talents, supports direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocates public-policy changes.
United Way Hungary is celebrating 25 years in the country with a gala dinner in Budapest this month.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, when FirstMed traditionally offers some free mammograms, and this year it is working with the North American Women’s Association on the sale of their “Surviving and Thriving” guide to living in Budapest.
The book costs HUF 3000 and the proceeds go towards buying special chemotherapy chairs for the oncology unit at Semmelweis Hospital for ladies undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
The health and welfare of under-privileged children is another important concern for Diokno, and his other main focus will be Csodalámpa, the Magic Lamp Wish Fulfilling Foundation, which again FirstMed has already supported for several years, immediately raising around HUF 500,000 in just the first three months of helping the organisation, and much more since.
“These two, United Way Hungary and Csodalámpa, will be our priorities in future, as they fit our profile in relation to health, either prevention or cure,” Diokno says. “FirstMed doesn’t have to give back to the community but it is what we feel compelled to do.”
Hattyúház, Hattyú utca 14, 5th floor, District I
Hûvösvölgyi út 181, District II
24-hour telephone: (+36-1) 224-9090