Niagara, ON – Just in time for the holidays, the United Way Committee of the Niagara Health System is delighted to announce that its goal to raise $80,000 this year has been exceeded by at least 10 per cent. Final tallies are still being confirmed, but staff across the seven NHS sites plus the Data Centre have raised at least $88,000 this year, well over the $80,000 goal!
"In this time of economic concern, the local United Ways have understandably been having difficulty meeting their goals," says Linda Boich, Vice President of Patient Services and Co-Chair of the NHS United Way Committee. "Likewise, this is a difficult time within our hospital walls, so the committee really expected that we would have to extend our campaign into 2009. However, our staff's generosity has been incredible with the result that more funds than expected will go to community agencies, many of them our partners in care."
Once again, payroll deductions and one-time gifts are where the bulk of the funds were raised, with just over $61,000 being committed for 2009 in this area. This year also included some favourite fundraisers and new raffles and activities. "New for us this year was the Choose a Cruise super raffle, with the grand prize of a $3,750 travel voucher," Boich said. "This raffle engaged hundreds of staff and netted our campaign over $4,600, as well as one very happy staff winner. Also new was great support from the Thorold Canal Bank Shuffle in October, which made the NHS United Way campaign their charity of choice this year."
"We also held an art raffle, pet photo contest, piggy bank decorating contest and other fundraisers to give staff a lot of choice in how to participate," Boich explained. "Most staff members we talked to were involved in one way or another, which is exactly what we needed to achieve to make the campaign a success."
"As one of the largest employers in Niagara, it is important that we give back to the community," said NHS President and CEO Debbie Sevenpifer. "Not only does our staff make a financial contribution, but many are involved in a voluntary way with many of the social service agencies.
We're gratified to give this support to our partner agencies and to know that Niagara is a better place to live because of their work and dedication."
With help in the form of prize donations from the community and hands-on work by hospital staff, this year's campaign was the best yet for the NHS.
"We talked about holding back some funds to give next year's campaign some seed money, but almost unanimously, our committee decided that the community need is great this year, so the money should be disbursed as soon as possible to help," said Boich. "It's the right thing to do and as the United Way motto states, every little bit counts!"