Welcome everyone to our 25th Annual General Meeting.
As we embark on our 25th year it is important for us to look back and see what has allowed us to get to this milestone mark! I want to thank the many donors and volunteers and past board members who have helped Spirit of the North over the years. It is not an easy task and at times it is a thankless job but for those who championed the cause for the Foundation over the years, they should look at today’s Foundation with pride and confidence in knowing the next 25 years will be even bigger and better for delivering the best of care close to home here in the North.
This past year has been one that has seen the economic climate change here in the central north of British Columbia. This has an impact on how and how many individuals and companies donate. Over $1.6 million was raised last year, with an average gift of just over $1,400 per donor. However with this climate we have been able to build an even stronger foundation. Our three signature events continue to be strong in the community and have been extremely successful. The 4th Annual Prince George Cougars Alumni Golf Tournament brought in over $102,000 which was used to purchase the PaceArt Cardiac Monitors. The 10th Annual Radiothon was successful in funding the purchase of an Optos OCT SLO System and a California UWF Unit, which was completed by the Auxiliary to UHNBC funding the Labtican Versavit II Vitrectomy surgical equipment to repair detached retinas. This suite of eye care equipment represented around $250,000. Festival of Trees celebrated 100 trees in conjunction with Prince George’s 100th birthday with record numbers of people in attendance. This generated $315,000 alone at the Gala Fundraising Auction Night and enabled the purchase of a MaldiToff Mass Spectrometer for the laboratory at UHNBC at a cost of $300,000. New at the Festival of Trees this year, Northland Auto Group designed ten Miracle Mirror Trees, five pairs of matching trees. In this truly philanthropic effort, the winning bidder of each tree was able to keep the first tree, while the “mirror” tree was donated to a family chosen by the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
As we look forward to 2016, while there are uncertain economic times be, rest assured that the Spirit of the North Health Foundation is laser focused on being even better. We have excellent staff in place and a very strong and committed board to support the staff. We are excited about some great initiatives that will help all areas of the referral area to UHNBC. A medical imaging initiative will be a first priority. A need has been identified for the entire region that will see new, innovative, and upgraded medical imaging equipment throughout the region. We hope to be working with all 8 other northern foundations towards one major capital campaign at a value of $20 Million. This not only brings better services to patients closer to home, but also reduces the wait times and will provide better and more accurate results. This is something that all of us in the north can get excited about in an effort to improve upstream healthcare. We have committed to work closely with Northern Health to see that this becomes a reality in the near future.
In closing; we can’t thank you, our donors, enough for your immense support. At Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, we are honored with the trust you place with us for your donations and we commit to working hard to ensure that these dollars are spent wisely and with the mission of bringing the best of care closer to home, here in the North!
Trevor Lutes, Board Chair
A Message from tHE CEO
As I sat down to write my report for today’s Annual General Meeting, all the normal pieces that are usually included didn’t seem to strike the magnitude of what our donors, supporters, and volunteers have done for Healthcare in the North over the last 25 years.
25 years is a long time… I remember when I thought 25 was “old”, …I have raised two of my three children past the age of 25, and some days that was a long haul,… I remember when 25 years with the same employer usually meant a gold watch, let alone 25 years of marriage, which is not heard of often these days. It’s a significant piece of time to reflect on.
This year I am choosing to not report out about what Spirit has done, but rather speak directly to what the Founders of Prince George Regional Hospital Foundation created, and… what YOU have done for healthcare in the North.
The Power of YOU,
…. our Donors, Supporters, Volunteers, and Advocates for greater health outcomes in the North.
To quote Myron Sambad, the founding President, in the initial and commemorative issue of The Founder Newsletter, which was first published in the Fall of 1993.
“We care so much that we willingly give our time and our financial gifts so that we can make a difference. We want the very best health care for our families and friends in Prince George and the region and we’re willing to do what it takes to get it!”
This was the start of something very good for the region and Myron’s words still ring true. We want the very best health care for our families and friends, and we’re willing to do what it takes to get it!
Although rebranded in 1998 to Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, the service area has not changed. Covering an area of 600,000 sq kms, roughly the size of the country of France, and servicing over 300,000 residents, healthcare for ALL northerners has been a constant message. What has changed is: Technology - equipment is very sophisticated and more portable, and with that – more expensive; Education – the north now educates physicians, nurses, and many other specialty services; Demographics – people retire and stay in the north now, our population of seniors is increasing…. and the face of our Donors; people at a younger age understand philanthropy; are giving of their time, energy and after tax dollars at a younger age. There are larger tax incentives to do this and financial planning now embraces the power of giving, likely brought on by a caring generation teaching this new generation well. Its’ been the power of YOU, all of you who have given so generously over the past 25 years in whatever way chosen to make a difference; fund equipment, education, and enhancements to healthcare; give corporately or individually, set up an endowment, leave a legacy, assign a life insurance policy, volunteer where needed, sponsor an event… it’s YOU who we celebrate as partners in bringing the best of care closer to home in the North.
It is my absolute privilege to help lead this organization as it turns 25 years old. It is a terrific honour and I share the passion of our Founders and all of YOU who have supported us in our journey giving back to Healthcare in the North. Please join us as we move forward planning for future generations. Thank YOU!
Judy Neiser, CEO