Health care gets $24,000 shot in arm

The launch of Riverside Foundation for Health Care here last week can be described in two words–big success.
About 240 people raised more than $24,000 for local health care at the Foundation’s kickoff dinner/dance Friday night at La Place Rendez-Vous.
The money raised stemmed from ticket sales, donations, lapel pin sales, a silent auction, and raffle.
“We are extremely pleased and encouraged by the results of our first fundraising event,” Foundation chair Clare Brunetta said yesterday. “This demonstrates that there is strong support in the Rainy River District for promoting quality health care.
“We thank all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who, through their generous support, helped to make the event such a success,” he added.
Addressing the crowd on hand Friday night, Brunetta stressed none of the money raised by the Foundation will be used to fund hospital operating expenses, such as salaries or administration.
“All funds raised will be used for capital projects and medical equipment at Riverside’s three health care facilities in Fort Frances, Emo, and Rainy River,” he said.
“The pace of health care is changing rapidly in this country,” he added. “This Foundation has ben set up by directors of the Riverside board to meet that challenge [of change].”
Since the Riverside Foundation for Health Care is a non-profit charitable organization, all donations will be tax deductible. And any donor who gives $500 or more will have their name placed on a donor recognition wall, which will be set up at each of Riverside’s health centres.
“It’s great to see such positive support,” echoed Joan Allison, who chairs of the Foundation’s fundraising committee. “This community has already deemed this evening a success.”
“If I had to thank everyone, I’d be here all night,” agreed Riverside CEO Paul Brown. “I’m so proud of the new Foundation. It’s so nice to see all of you answering our call for this event.”
Both Brown and Brunetta saluted the effort of the three local hospital auxiliaries. Brunetta said the Foundation will not replace these bodies but rather act as a liaison between them and Riverside.
“The auxiliaries have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for health care improvements one dollar at a time,” Brunetta said.
Brown noted since its inception in 1952, the La Verendrye hospital auxiliary has raised about $1.145 million.
“The auxiliary has kept us in the type of equipment we are in,” he said. “There is not a hospital department not touched by the hospital auxiliary.
“Hospital auxiliaries have laid the foundation for hospital foundations,” he stressed.
People also got a glimpse of the Foundation’s logo for the first time Friday night. It features three people of varying size who make up the trunk of a tree covered with leaves, and sports the motto–“Supporting health care you can count on.”
“We wanted to create a very distinct identity,” noted Wendy Frattolin, vice-chair of the Foundation and chair of its communications committee.
“After much brainstorming, we knew what we really needed to show in this logo are people,” she added, noting the symbol of a tree was chosen because it represents strength, stability, and longevity.
“Of which all three qualities we want represented in the Foundation,” she stressed.
Ongoing and future fundraising activities by the Foundation include bi-weekly 50/50 draws for hospital staff; a district-wide direct mail campaign in the spring; a “penny harvest” and “penny wars” at both Fort Frances and Rainy River high schools; “gratitude banks” at each hospital; “Top-Up Days” and barbecues sponsored by Safeway; the “Heavy Weights” program; a Christmas appeal; and a Christmas light and house tour.
Any donations should be made to the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, 110 Victoria Ave., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 2B7.
“Our goal is to make our health care facilities a source of pride in this district,” Brunetta said. “By working together, we can ensure those facilities will be there when we need them.”
But he stressed in all cases, there will be representation from the unincorporated areas. How those reps are selected, though, is up to them. And he pointed out they will be a minority.
he also reiterated that if there wasn’t a local agreement on a DSSAB proposal by the deadline, the province will impose one.
“That’s why the double majority has got to rule,” he said.