Popular Riverside 50/50 draw will be staying until October

Merna Emara
Staff Writer

The Riverside Healthcare Foundation will be continuing their 50/50 draw until at least October, with the possibility of an extension.

Allison Cox, foundation director, said 50/50 has been an invaluable fundraiser because of the cancellation of live events due to COVID-19.

“This was a really simple way for us to be able to still be in the public eye, but something exciting for the community to get involved in as well,” Cox said. “It has really helped to offset both the cancellation of our spring luncheon last year, as well as our fall gala.”

The 50/50 draw was originally planned to be a one-time fundraiser in the summer in lieu of the Canada Day Cash Lottery since it was difficult to sell tickets in the Rainy River District due to gathering restrictions.

Cox said they had looked into other options but ultimately decided that launching something online would be worthwhile.

“We did a trial run with it first, before we decided to launch into a monthly series and did an eight-week campaign from the middle of July to Labor Day,” Cox said. “Because of the success of that one, we decided to move forward with doing a monthly one starting in November. We are currently in our fourth monthly draw right now.”

If the monthly pots continue at January’s level, just shy of $26,000, the foundation would gross about $300,000 per year, minus the one per cent fee to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and costs paid to the vendor who manages the electronic raffle. Cox said the foundation’s lottery license is only valid until October, but the foundation will be assessing the popularity of the draw prior to applying to extend the lottery license.

The money raised in the summer was used to purchase two bladder scanners. One was given to La Verendrye Hospital and the other was given to Rainycrest long-term care home.

However, Cox said the money raised for this month will go to the foundation’s general fund account.

“I am meeting with our capital committee in the next weeks, and we’re going to be selecting specific equipment and announcements will be made as the equipment is chosen,” Cox said. “Those funds are there for any equipment that might be needed for purchase. We aren’t restricting it right now so that when there’s an area of high need, then the funds are available.”

The 50/50 draw is sponsored by West End Motors and Gillion’s Insurance. They kick off each month with a $500 guarantee, $250 each. This puts a starting pot of at least $500 every month for the take home prize.

That being said, Cox adds that the foundation exists because the Ontario government does not provide funding for medical equipment for healthcare facilities.

“It’s extremely important that even in times of pandemic that foundations are still raising funds because even in a pandemic, the need for new equipment is still there,” Cox said. “That can be as simple as a bedside table to make patient care more comfortable. We were always so grateful for the public for the community within the Rainy River District for always giving so generously to the foundation.”

Moving ahead, Cox said, the spring luncheon will not be taking place this year. Therefore, it is unlikely that large scale fall events will be taking place later this year.