Flint, MI—Karima Amlani has long felt the call to philanthropy and nonprofit work, and as Hurley Foundation’s new president, she is eager to further the organization’s service to the greater Flint area, a community she calls home. 

“It was always about feeling fulfilled, doing the best that I can do, and leaving the world a little better than we found it,” Amlani said. “I’m hopeful that by the end of my time in this world, I can do that.” 

The Hurley Foundation primarily raises funds and awareness for the Hurley Medical Center’s programs and services, including the center’s adult, senior and pediatric services, as well as research and education. The foundation is marking its 30th anniversary in April 2023 and has a “great history” in the community, Amlani said.

She began her role on Feb. 1 and is currently focused on mapping the ins and outs of the foundation’s work, whether it be policy, governance or finances. Moving forward, Amlani said she aims to build on the groundwork laid by her predecessors and advance the foundation’s efforts in promoting health equity. 

“I want to make it so everyone has access to health care, so that people aren’t choosing between health care and food, health care and rent,” she said. “I want to make sure that we, as a region, have access to the top of the line equipment, to talent, to serve the community.” 

Amlani noted her prior role at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint opened her eyes to the need for health equity. She said most of her time as the organization’s vice president of development was focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, a public health crisis that laid bare the barriers people face in accessing basic needs, nutritious food and health care. 

But through that experience, she saw how well philanthropic organizations can work together to help address such barriers, Amlani explained. She pointed to the Greater Flint Urgent Relief Fund as an example. Established by the Community Foundation in 2020, it funded organizations, such as the Hurley Foundation, serving communities hardest hit by COVID.

As for the Hurley Medical Center, Michael Burnett, Hurley Foundation’s outgoing president, said the hospital faced challenges with staffing and financial stress during the public health emergency.

“Like all healthcare organizations, Hurley’s staffing challenges were two-fold,” Burnett wrote in statement. “There was both an extreme shortage of staff across the board, most critically in nursing, as well as a historic spike in wages. Aside from other multiple issues related to COVID, staffing issues in particular created a huge financial burden for the medical center.” 

The outgoing president said Hurley Medical Center had received government support through the pandemic, but more funds were needed, and the Hurley Foundation served as a “lifeline” by securing grants locally and federally. 

Burnett added that “our overall donations and general support for our events through this difficult time always remained strong. The local communities came through with both monetary, supply, and food donations that kept our staff strong, and aware that they were being thought of. So in the end, while this is how the foundation supported Hurley Medical Center, we are really just the conduit for everyone’s appreciation of this institution.” 

On Amlani’s part, she has long had a personal connection with Hurley. Her father completed his internal medicine residency at the Hurley Medical Center, and her mother was trained as an x-ray technician there in the 1970s. In addition, Amlani and her daughter were both “Hurley NICU babies,” she said, referring to being placed in the center’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Before working professionally in philanthropy, Amlani was a realtor, though she said she’d “always been in love with the concept of servant leadership,” getting involved with volunteering at the Whaley Children’s Center, a nonprofit in Flint that supports foster children, and the Hurley Foundation for fundraising.

“Giving back to the community was always a mandate, whether it was personally or professionally,” Amlani said. 

Amlani ultimately turned her volunteer experience at the Hurley Foundation into a career, working her way up to director of events and fundraising before joining the Community Foundation.

Now, returning as its new leader, Amlani is hoping to grow the Hurley Foundation.

“I want larger funders to see Hurley Foundation as a tool and a resource to have the framework and the structure to distribute funds related to health equity within our community,” Amlani said. “That would be my dream.” 

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...