Women’s health initiatives at Guelph General uplifted by Black Tie Bingo Fundraising Gala and Soiree

In advance of International Women’s Day, women’s healthcare received a $339,000 boost on Saturday, March 2. The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital’s 28th annual Black Tie Bingo, presented by Co-operators and Meridian Credit Union, secured the net proceeds in response to Guelph General Hospital’s current equipment priorities within Obstetrics & Gynecology, Diagnostic Imaging and Family Birthing.

The funds were raised by two simultaneous fundraising events: a fundraising gala dinner at The Grand Guelph and a newly introduced Soiree at Spring Mill Distillery by John Sleeman and Sons. The dual-format offered a wider range of ticket prices and also allowed Black Tie Bingo to attract a record number of participants.  Through the two events, close to 600 sponsors, guests and volunteers took part. In addition to ticket sales and sponsorship, the funds were generated through silent and live auctions, a sweepstakes raffle and a whirlwind of live fundraising led by auctioneer Robert Milburn when $113,000 was donated by gala guests in just 15 minutes.

During the events, guests learned about the importance of equity in healthcare. One of the gala attendees, Dr. Nancy Dzaja, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology for Guelph General Hospital stated “I feel proud to work in an organization that values inclusivity and is making an effort to prioritize women’s health initiatives. It was inspiring to see so many people in our community coming together to support and celebrate women’s health. I am thankful to all the sponsors, donors and guests who made this extraordinary evening possible.”

In addition to dozens of logistics volunteers, returning gala Co-Chairs Lynda Murray and Juliette Zhang led a cadre of Community Ambassadors who over the past several months volunteered their time to assist with planning, fundraising and marketing. Paul Osborne, past Chair of The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, served as host and emcee, and called four rounds of Bingo where gala guests competed to the grand prize of a $3,000 unrestricted travel voucher.

Mark Walton, CEO of Guelph General Hospital, stated: “Events like this underscore the important of partnerships as we strive to fulfil our mission of exemplary and equitable care for and with our community.” Walton added: “I extend a heartfelt thanks for the generous show of support this past Saturday that will fund all the patient care equipment and technology we had prioritized to improve women’s health services at our hospital.”

During the gala dinner, The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital announced the 2024 recipient of their Inspirational Philanthropist Award, which was presented to Bob Ireland, founder of Guelph Manufacturing Group. Mr. Ireland was recognized with a standing ovation for his outstanding contributions through business, philanthropy and volunteerism in support of Guelph General Hospital as well as numerous other causes in the Guelph community, especially through his service to the Rotary Club of Guelph. Bob and Sharon Ireland were present to receive the honour and celebrated the evening with family and friends.

Julie Byczynski, CEO of The Foundation of Guelph General, remarked, “It’s possible that many in our community don’t know about the impact Bob Ireland has had on our city or the decades he spent volunteering and raising money not only for our hospital and for healthcare, but for countless projects and causes. With this award, we aim to highlight those contributions so that others might be inspired to follow his lead. Together with his wife Sharon, Bob has been a champion of many causes in our community, and in particular, he chaired Partners for Better Health, a historic fundraising campaign that continues to have an impact on us all today.”

At Guelph General Hospital, every piece of equipment used to help care for patients is funded by community. Over its 28 year history, Black Tie Bing has funded everything from surgical and diagnostic equipment to IV pumps and vital signs monitors to specialized ICU patient beds.

The Foundation invites all community members to learn more about the Inspirational Philanthropist Award recipient Bob Ireland, by visiting their website: https://gghfoundation.ca/inspirational-philanthropist-award/ And, to also learn more about Guelph General Hospitals women’s health initiatives by watching the Impact of Giving video, below. This video was also shared on the evening of the event.

Learn more about Black Tie Bingo at BlackTieBingo.com