AZ Health Partnership Fund President shares how clinic tour inspired her

As part of MOM AZ’s 25th anniversary celebration, we’re visiting with past and present volunteers, board members, patients and community partners who have been integral to MOM’s mission over the years. We recently connected with Rachel Oesterle, who has worn many hats for MOM over the years and currently serves as the president of MOM’s Arizona Health Partnership Fund board of directors.

A few years after Mission of Mercy Arizona launched in 1997, Rachel Oesterle learned about the fledgling nonprofit after being invited to tour the Mesa clinic by then Executive Director John Olson. At the time, Rachel was CEO of Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK), an Arizona-based child welfare agency.

“On the clinic tour, I was astounded by what I witnessed,” she recalled. “It was a sea of souls waiting to be seen by skilled doctors and nurses volunteering their time to take care of people at no charge. I knew immediately that it was a cause worth getting involved in and one that is critically vital to our community.”

Joining Leadership Council

When MOM hired Catherine Amiot as the first full-time executive director in 2004, Rachel was the first person she approached about joining the new Leadership Council. Amiot’s vision was to assemble a group of professionals who would help guide MOM through future expansions and support strategic initiatives.

Eventually, Rachel was hired by MOM in 2009 as director of strategic initiatives and under her guidance and Amiot’s leadership, MOM expanded into the East and West Valley, hired its first volunteer coordinator, adopted the Benevon model for fundraising and launched Community Connections.

“Community Connections allowed us to establish new partnerships around different initiatives like providing mammograms to our female patients or piloting health education programs for those with diabetes,” Rachel said. “It was an exciting time for MOM and we were really pushing the envelope and fostering meaningful relationships in the community.”

Leading AZ Health Partnership Fund Board

After six years in that role, her career took a new path when she was asked to lead the Franciscan Renewal Center’s capital campaign and endowment. But her passion for MOM remained, and shortly after MOM launched the Arizona Health Partnership Fund Board in 2017 to support Arizona charitable tax credit donations, Rachel agreed to join that board without hesitancy.

Moving into MOM’s next 25 years, Rachel looks forward to focusing on planned giving initiatives and a future endowment campaign. She believes in MOM’s mission to “heal through Love” by restoring dignity, empowering patients and strengthening communities.

“I believe MOM’s clinics are there by the grace of God. It’s comforting to know that there is an organization that acts as a safety net to anyone in our community who lacks access to health care for whatever reason,” Rachel said. “MOM eliminates barriers to care and goes directly to the people, serving them in the communities where they live and work.”