Hospital community challenge gets kicked up a notch

BARRY’S BAY – When representatives at St. Francis Memorial Hospital got word that a Toronto-based foundation would match, dollar for dollar, donations for a new x-ray machine, they were excited.
Now that it has promised a $10,000 bonus providing the community continues its generosity, hospital reps are beyond ecstatic.
“We were just so thrilled,” Hospital Foundation Director Toni Lavigne-Conway said. “That’s why we wanted to get the word out to people, just to let them know.”
Earlier this year, the W. Garfield Foundation promised to match donations for a new x-ray machine up to $50,000.
More recently, the foundation promised that if the community meets the $50,000 goal, the hospital will get a $10,000 bonus.
But that’s not all.
Donations between the $50,000 and $60,000 mark will be matched two to one.
A little more than a year ago, Lavigne-Conway and the foundation were looking at fundraising opportunities which would eventually lead to the purchase of a new x-ray machine at the hospital.
The x-ray machine includes the portable and main machine, both of which are many years past their prime. The machines use film and will both will be upgraded to digital technology.
“Normally, in fundraising, you are more successful with people who have an actually have some appreciation for the hospital,” Lavigne-Conway said.
The hospital foundation got in contact with the W. Garfield Foundation, a private Canadian family foundation made up of members of the Weston family. The Westons are best known for owning Loblaw Companies Limited.
Some of the family members and board members also have a close connection to the area, and visit the Whitney region from time-to-time.
“They are familiar with our hospital, they have used our hospital on a number of occasions, and they are very pleased with the services they received when they came,” Lavigne-Conway said.
When the hospital foundation asked for support, the W. Garfield Foundation readily agreed and the Match-It fundraising campaign was born.
“We indicated that one of our top priorities was our new x-ray machine because of the enormous cost of the machine,” she said. “The Westons are very grateful that when they come to visit our area that they love so much that should a family member or friends ever have the need, then we are able to provide excellent health care services.”
The main x-ray machine will cost around $500,000 and the portable one will be around $250,000.
Story continues in the June 27 issue of The Valley Gazette.