Together, We Care campaign transfer of $10.5M to transform care at GGH

At its annual general meeting last night, June 19, the board of directors of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital announced that they transferred a record-breaking $10,497,081 to Guelph General Hospital in their 2022-23 fiscal year. The previous record transfer amount was last year of $5.7M.

Approximately $6M will be used by the hospital to transform the Special Care Nursery, which was funded 100% with donations from the Together, We Care campaign. The new space will support the care and comfort for the Hospital’s most vulnerable newborns and their families. Renovations are nearing completion, and a ribbon cutting is planned for September.

An additional $4M was transferred for the Hospital to purchase essential patient care equipment with a significant allocation to the Hospital’s surgical department, funding numerous equipment upgrades and investments in new surgical equipment and technology. The funding also supported new equipment purchases Hospital-wide. New ultrasound machines within the diagnostic imaging department, new patient room equipment and specialized ventilators are examples from the extensive list of donor-funded equipment that will soon be published on the Foundation’s website. The Hospital’s funding model requires patient care equipment to be funded by donations since government support covers operating costs.

In addition, the Foundation also supported ideas from GGH staff for improving patient care and staff safety. While smaller in dollar amounts, the ideas funded through this program have significant impact on care. Some of the smaller grants made to GGH last year supported items such as ring cutters and paediatric stethoscopes for the Emergency Department, a fridge to store breast milk for the Family Birthing Unit, crayons and toys to distract younger patients throughout the units, and shower chairs and repositioning sheets for Medicine units. Through COVID relief funds, new chairs that meet infection protocol standards for patients and care partners were purchased for use throughout the Hospital, new outdoor seating and tables were provided so that staff and others could enjoy much-needed breaks outdoors, and a pilot program was launched to provide on-site psychotherapy for GGH staff facing stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

The majority of the $10.5M transferred to GGH was contributed through the Together, We Care campaign, which was spearheaded initially in 2017 by Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar, volunteer and long-time donor to the Foundation. “We set out to raise $20M for our community’s Hospital, but we quickly realized that we needed to set our sights higher to meet the growing need for healthcare. In the end, we launched the public phase of the campaign during the height of COVID, and along with my co-chairs Susan Frasson and Rob Wesseling, we were thrilled to raise $37.5M in support of the Hospital. Even more thrilling, however, is this moment, when our community gets to benefit from the Special Care Nursery and the updated MRI in the months to come.” 

At the meeting, Julie Byczynski, CEO of The Foundation Guelph General Hospital, shared that the majority of funds raised during the Together, We Care campaign have now been transferred to the Hospital, with approximately $7M left to support the upcoming replacement MRI and the Emergency Department expansion to enhance mental health facilities that is currently in construction planning.

As part of its commitment to best practices in governance and inclusivity, The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital volunteer board of directors welcomed new members and also thanked those who had completed their terms. It was announced that the new Chair of its board of directors is Khalil Khamis, CEO of Crafty Ramen and Harvey’s Franchisee, who has served as Vice Chair for the past year and board member for five years. Also appointed were a new Treasurer Taha Zafar, Director of Finance at Skyline Living, Skyline Group of Companies and Vice Chair Tracey Curtis, Financial Advisor, Richardson Wealth. Three new members were elected to join and serve an initial three-year term: Robert Maier, Marissa Teeter and Kathy Wilkie. During the meeting, Alicia Robertson, outgoing Chair and Founder and CEO of Lemonade Life, was lauded for her exemplary service as she concluded her term, and outgoing members John Core and Emmie Hull were also celebrated for their volunteer service and leadership.

In terms of current fundraising results, $8.65M in donations was contributed to the Foundation or raised during events over the course of the year, including pledge payments from Together, We Care and a record-breaking amount in proceeds from Black Tie Bingo.