Taking Charge, Giving Back

Danielle Remis Hackel's patient experience leads to a decade of volunteer leadership, $1 million gift to BIDMC

I am really proud of how BID has grown and thrived over the last decade, and I know we are embarking on exciting new times ahead.
Danielle Remis Hackel
Chair, Board of Overseers

Michael Hackel, Danielle Remis HackelDanielle Remis Hackel has firsthand knowledge of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s lifesaving care—an experience that helped inspire and shape her dedicated, and unabashedly enthusiastic, relationship with the hospital.  In 2006, Hackel was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease, and underwent a surgery called a thymectomy.  During a six-month recovery and leave from her job at State Street Global Advisors, she and her husband, Michael Hackel, had the opportunity to reflect on their lives and consider how they might show their gratitude while also making a substantive impact.  “We really didn’t know the best way to repay our debt to BIDMC, but there was a team of two dozen caregivers who made ‘Team Remis Hackel’ possible,” says Hackel. “I wouldn’t be here without them, and even as I was recuperating, my family and I starting looking for ways to give back.”  

Hackel’s now 12-year-long association with BIDMC, which includes chairing the Board of Overseers and the Overseers Executive Council and active membership on the Board of Trustees, has now culminated in an extraordinary gift of $1 million with her husband to support the Campus Transformation Fund.  The Hackels’ generosity will help advance a comprehensive effort to redefine the medical center’s campus and make it commensurate with the excellence of its clinicians, researchers, and staff.  “Michael and I feel that we all have to make decisions in life about how to spend our time and resources,” says Hackel. “As an entrepreneur and a CEO, Michael, in particular, knows how important it is to be inspired and to prioritize choices that matter.  BIDMC is our inspiration and our choice.”

Through her service and recent generosity, Hackel has made it her goal to ensure that the medical center’s care can be as accessible to everyone as it has been to her own family.  As chair of the Board of Overseers—a 100-plus group of BIDMC community members who serve, promote, and advocate on behalf of the hospital—she has been working to make the medical center’s lay leadership more diverse in a variety of ways, including wider representation of women, minorities, professional backgrounds, and ages.  “To fulfill our mission, we need a Board that accurately reflects the makeup of the people who receive care here,” she says. “Every year, we create diversity goals, and our recruitment efforts are targeted against meeting those metrics.  As a result, we’ve flipped the complexion of the Board over the last several years.  The goal is to reflect the diverse communities we serve, notably in urban and underserved areas.”  Hackel has also been focused on overseers better understanding and sharing the wealth of innovative research, technologies, and techniques that perfectly complement, but are often overshadowed by, BIDMC’s renowned empathetic and compassionate care.  “We are laser-focused on research, innovation, and finding the next best thing,” she notes. “Here that’s equally as important as treating every patient with dignity and respect.  I don’t really know another place that does both of those things so well.”

Hackel, who now works at a private equity investment firm, HarbourVest Partners, hopes that her family’s recent gift to BIDMC will help enable the medical center to bring its facilities and infrastructure to the same level of distinction as its compassionate care and pioneering spirit. Philanthropy seemed the natural next step in her deepening bond with the medical center and another tangible way to express her gratitude. “I am particularly indebted to the Development team at BIDMC for working closely with me and Michael on designing a personalized giving plan, reflecting the most major commitment we’ve made to any institution,” says Hackel. “I’m really proud of how BID has grown and thrived over the last decade, and I know we are embarking on exciting new times ahead. I think it’s an opportunity for me to reinforce how that can happen”