Riverside Foundation set to open virtual Silent Auction

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer
kkellar@fortfrances.com

Riverside Foundation for Health Care is readying another fundraising initiative to help push their current capital campaign to new heights.

As part of their “Picture This” campaign, the Foundation is organizing a virtual silent auction to help raise funds for upgrades and improvements to Riverside Health Care’s diagnostic imaging department. A silent auction is usually a big part of the Foundation’s annual Fall Gala which is traditionally a large part of the year’s fundraising efforts. But as lingering COVID-19 restrictions make the gala a no-go again this year, the organizers determined a different tack was needed. Foundation director Allison Cox noted that the goal for this silent auction is to do things differently than they would at the gala.

“We’re looking at having high-end items up for auction,” Cox said.

“There are a few items that are valued slightly under $100, but the majority of them are valued at least at $100 or more. Typically our fall gala should have taken place in October in pre-COVID times, so normally we would have a silent and live auction at that. If we had been able to hold the gala this year, proceeds from the gala would have been directed towards the ‘Picture This’ campaign.”

Guild potter Bob Jeffery has donated hand potted mugs to the auction. The former resident was honoured to be included in the fundraiser.

In order to participate in the online auction, the public is invited to visit the Foundation’s website and click on the Silent Auction button, where they will be taken to a new page to view and bid on all of the items on the block.

“That site is going to be up and ready to view on November 8, and bidding opens on November 15,” Cox explained.

“People will have a good week to take a look at what we’re going to be having in the auction. There’s also a likelihood that some more items will be added to it after the 8th as we receive a few more that we’re just waiting for to come in.”

The bidding period will last from November 15 until November 24 at 6:00 p.m., giving everyone who wishes to participate plenty of time to make their bids, or just to agonize over whether the bid they’ve already made will stay at the top of the list.

Cox noted that this year has changed tactics in how the organizers have been soliciting items for auction as well. Cox noted that Linda Hamilton has been hard at work finding items for the auction block, but that they’ve deliberately avoided asking businesses who have been hard-hit by the pandemic.

“We’ve shied away from asking businesses and we’ve more taken a look at approaching local artists and other small businesses as opposed to our typical ones we would normally approach during the gala,” Cox said.

“Simply because we’re cognizant of the fact that many of those shops were closed for quite an extended period of time. So this has been Linda’s baby, she’s taken the lead on collecting the majority of our auction items and she’s done a great job at getting a lot of high-quality things in.”

Some items that are up and available for viewing include a handcrafted coffee table, a woven pine basket, hand potted mugs, an original painting from Cher Pruys and Minnesota Vikings tickets.

The Foundation’s monthly 50/50 draws have helped keep the pace of the fundraising up over the year, particularly with losing out on regular fundraising events like the gala, and Cox said it’s difficult to compare the progress for the Picture This campaign with other fundraising campaigns from previous years. The support they have received throughout the COVID pandemic means they have been able to continue to make donations to equipment purchases for Riverside facilities.

A hand woven pine needle basket is available for bidding, courtesy of Baskets by Pepper.

“Looking at last year, compared to previous years, if it weren’t for that 50/50 and the support we received form the public through it, we wouldn’t have been able to do a transfer of about $460,000 in funds to facilities in this past fiscal year-end for equipment purchase,” Cox said.

“That’s not to say that it all came in during that fiscal year; we do keep a reserve for reasons like this.”

The auction website is live now for browsing at www.riversidefoundation.ca/RFHC/Picture-This/Silent_Auction.aspx or https://www.32auctions.com/RFHCpicturethis.