Philanthropy is a Way of Life for Board Member Ryan Otis
Ryan Otis always knew becoming a Shriner was inevitable. Now a member of the Boston Shriners Hospital Board of Governors and the Anah Temple Divan, Ryan grew up in the Shrine. His grandfather, father and brother are all Shriners, and supporting the fraternity was part of the fabric of his family. As a young boy in south-central Pennsylvania, Ryan loved to go with his father to the circus hosted by the Zembo Shriners. As he got older, he understood how the fraternity supports the incredible mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children – providing life changing specialty care to children from around the world. “Being part of this great work was just the right thing to do,” shared Ryan.
An Anah Shriner since 2006, Ryan joined the Boston hospital Board as an associate member just ten years later. In 2017, he was elected as a full member and quickly became a leader. Currently chairman of the marketing and communications committee, Ryan works closely with hospital staff to support efforts in-house, as well as the many third party fundraisers hosted by Shriners Temples (Chapters) that support the hospital. Being on the Board gives Ryan a direct link to the hospital. “Having the opportunity to meet our incredible and resilient patients or listen to a presentation by one of our expert doctors, gives me a true understanding of the lifesaving work that we are doing for kids. This knowledge allows me to engage others who may not have the opportunity to see the work first hand. And if I inspire them to give, all the better.”
Personally, Ryan has a number of initiatives in play in his hometown of Belfast, Maine. As the owner of a family-friendly restaurant and catering business, Ryan is well known and has many generous supporters in his community. Patrons know that proceeds from some of the restaurant’s beverage sales are earmarked for donation to the Boston Shriners Hospital. In addition, September will mark the second annual Rollie’s Open golf tournament, which raises funds and awareness for the hospital and its mission. The fifth annual Rollie’s Run for Kids, another fundraising event, will kick off in October with 5K and 1-mile routes along a local rail trail, and many fun family activities. Of course, this year will be a little different as they ensure all necessary safety precautions are in place.
Being part of the Anah Divan gives Ryan another chance to support fundraising efforts, a role he takes very seriously. His unit, the Keystone Kops, has been incredibly supportive and contributes exclusively to the Boston Shriners Hospital. Last year alone the unit generously donated nearly $8,000 to Boston.
Ryan credits his ability to devote so much of his time and effort to supporting the Boston Shriners hospital with his loving and understanding family. Ryan and his wife, Brooke, have three active and happy sons, Thatcher (9), Jedsen (8) and Archer (5) who love sports and can often be found playing basketball, baseball or football. Ryan shared that he is blessed with a wife who “gets it.” Brooke works full time as the Court Clerk of the Waldo County Superior Court, and is a key support to the initiatives that benefit the hospital. Rounding out the family is Ryan’s brother, Chad, also an Anah Shriner, who helps run the family business. When Ryan looks for fundraising assistance and ideas, he knows he always has support from the home team. The family tradition carries on.
Ryan has a message to those who understand how important donations are to the hospital mission, “You may not always be able to write a check, but get creative. Engage your community, partner with a local business, plan an event. And when you can make a donation, remember the Boston Shriners Hospital.”
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