PMA’s Olson Huff Wins Prestigious Summit Award
Recognition only awarded five times in 25-year history
On Tuesday, November 18th, PMA’s Dr. Olson Huff received the Outstanding Fundraising Summit Award at the 2014 AFP National Philanthropy Day Luncheon in Asheville. The event, sponsored by the AFP chapter of Western North Carolina at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, recognized Huff’s career of contributions to the nonprofit community.
A retired pediatrician with decades of experience in the field of childhood development, Huff has been part of the PMA team for two years as a Senior Consultant in Health Affairs & Government Relations.
Huff worked in private pediatric practice for fourteen years in Charlotte, NC before relocating to Asheville, NC, where he founded the child development program at Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital in 1987.
“My subspecialty training in medicine was in developmental disabilities with children, so that has always been my focus,” Huff said. “While still maintaining a practice, I was responsible for developing the hospital program, recruiting other positions, and continuing to expand the options for the specialty care of children in Western North Carolina.”
Huff became the director for the Ruth and Billy Graham Children’s Health Center at Mission Hospital in 1994 and retired from his medical practice in 2001. Since then, he has continued his passion for pediatric development through consulting, advocacy, and serving on boards that promote childhood health.
Among his proudest achievements includes the website, sixtysecondparent.com, which provides accessible, expert parenting advice.
“It is a web-based parenting network designed to help parents of young children know more about their health, development, and behavior,” Huff said. “Being a new parent can often be overwhelming, and Sixty Second Parent has resources that are factual and packaged in a form that is easy to use.”
Huff cites the Huff Child Development Center of Mission Children’s Hospital and the Kids in Parks of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, a program that encourages kids to have more active lifestyles through activities on Blue Ridge Parkway trails, as his other primary personal accomplishments.
Huff stresses the importance of fundraising and strategic planning in nonprofits in light of his own endeavors.
“Anytime we are involved with issues in children—health, developmental, social, mental—there is always the issue of sufficient funding to implement the necessary care,” Huff said. “If you’re going to have successful programs for children, you have to reach out to the philanthropic community.”
Since working for PMA, Huff has utilized his extensive leadership background to help elevate other nonprofits.
“My favorite PMA so far was the Madison County Smart Start Program,” Huff said. “It was a successful intervention in not only strategic planning, but also in developing a project that helped improve their plan to sustain the program.”
Huff plans to continue his work with PMA in the near future before more fully retiring.
“I want to put in two more years of very active work and then my wife and I would like to travel,” Huff said.
In spite of his lifetime of significant contributions to the medical and nonprofit communities, Huff is humbled by his award, which is the highest honor in philanthropy in Western North Carolina.
“I was taken a bit by surprise when I was asked if I would accept the Summit Award,” Huff said. “It is a rather unique award that I consider to be a kind of lifetime achievement honor.”
For more information about Dr. Huff and the PMA team, click here.
Event Photos Courtesy of David Huff