Picture This campaign smashes fundraising goal, and then some

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

Following months of hard work, hefty 50/50 draws and many generous donations, the Riverside Foundation for Health Care is celebrating the success of its most recent fundraising campaign.

The Foundation has been running the “Picture this” campaign since its public launch in early September with the goal of reaching $1.5-million in order to revamp and revitalize Riverside Health Care’s diagnostic imaging department. The campaign was focused on raising enough money to make improvements to the x-ray rooms, purchase an elevating fluoroscopy table, as well as replace the facility’s CT scanner and digital mammography machines. Foundation director Allison Cox said that not only has the campaign hit its $1.5-million goal, but they’ve gone above and beyond that figure thanks to charitable donations from the community.

“We are so excited to announce that we’ve exceeded the $1.5-million goal,” Cox said.

“We’re blown away by the support of the community. This means that Riverside facilities will be able to continue to offer diagnostic imaging services in our district. Not only are we getting a new CT scanner, we get the new digital mammography machine, our x-ray machines get upgraded from analogue to digital. All of that means less radiation dosage to our patients and to our staff. It also means better diagnostic capabilities. Basically, this equipment is going to allow Riverside to not only continue the service of care, but upgrade the service of care we currently have.”

The campaign itself got off on the right foot in early May with a sizeable donation from the estate of Olive Eisenhauer, and from there the large donations continued to come in throughout the remainder of the year.

“By about mid-November we were extremely close to our goal,” Cox said.

“Then in November and December more pledges started rolling in, and eventually it was a $70,000 commitment from the La Verendrye Auxiliary that put us over the edge.”

As of Thursday, January 6, Cox said the campaign had hit an overall total of $1.667-million, and Cox noted there was still money to be counted out and added to the final total, including the most recent record-breaking 50/50 draw of $37,650 at the end of 2021.

Originally the campaign was expected to run until the end of the Foundation’s fiscal year in March, and Cox said that even though they’ve exceeded their goal, there are plans in place both for additional donations, as well as what will be done with the additional funding.

“We’re going to be holding those extra funds as contingency,” she explained.

“There’s bound to be some unexpected costs that come up in terms of the installation of all the equipment, so we’ll be holding it as contingency for now. Anything that is above and beyond what is needed for the actual campaign will still be used to help health care close to home. Anything above and beyond will still stay in our general fund account that can be used for the purchase of other medical equipment for all four of the facilities that we support. Anyone that would still like to give towards the campaign, that option is still there.”

One of the benefits of so many large donations means that the Foundation has already made a significant purchase for Riverside facilities, placing the order for a new CT scanner in December 2021, and the funds they had in-hand from the campaign means that it’s already been paid for and written off the books. Cox said there’s no ETA yet on when the machine will arrive and be installed – she’s hoping to see it by the end of March – but it’s a physical testament to the charitable nature of the Rainy River District.

“There are some small renovations that will have to be done in the current CT room for that installation to occur,” Cox said.

“So there have been some local contractors who have been hired to complete that. I know our engineering department is already working with the diagnostic imaging department in terms of layout for the new mammography machine as well. Things are on the roll with that, and the public can rest assured that the equipment is coming very soon.”

A fundraiser campaign can’t be successful without public support, and Cox extended her thanks to the people of the Rainy River District for helping to push the Picture This campaign to new heights.

“Like I said, we’re blown away by the support,” she said.

“This job always surprises me, and I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by the generosity of the community and the district, but I am. We had some very large ticket donations come in. $70,000 from the LGVH auxiliary in celebration of their 70th year in existence. We also received $10,000 from the Emo Auxiliary and a $6,000 pledge from the Rainy River Auxiliary. These auxiliaries have taken huge hits in the past 22 months or so, and I’m shocked they’re able to give so much, and that’s a testament to the community as well continuing to support the auxiliaries.”
Cox also gave a shout out to Duane and Grace Cridland, who served as major campaign co-chairs, working to bring in what Cox said amounted to “tens of thousands of dollars in donations.” However, Cox noted the pair also made a $100,000 donation of their own towards the campaign.

“I know everyone in the area is well aware of the generosity of the Cridlands, and they just keep extending it over and over again,” Cox said.

“But just a massive thank you to everyone that gave, whether it was $10, $100, or $10,000. Every little bit helped us get to, and exceed, this goal, and is going to help us keep health care close to home.”