The Grande Prairie Hospital Foundation has officially wrapped up its Key to Care Campaign, which first launched in November of 2015 with the goal of raising $20 million dollars. The foundation helps provide equipment, services, and other amenities, serving as the primary source of raising funds for the hospital. Just over $21 million dollars was raised.
Cindy Park first started as Executive Director when the foundation launched. She stayed on as a volunteer, Board Trustee, and the Capital Campaign Chair. Passing that $20 million goal is a little hard to believe.
“When we started this and people told us that no rural foundation in Alberta has ever raised that much money. We were told that it wasn’t possible. We just thought to ourselves, this is Grande Prairie and we can totally do this. We also had great fortune with the fact that the people who were involved were all really committed to that,” she says.
Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard has also been involved with the foundation as a donor, a member of the original cabinet, and a volunteer. Allard says seeing the successful campaign all wrapped up just reinforces how great the community is.
“There was always a debate at the table, with the economic downturn. We decided to shift our focus from large one-time donors to incremental or transactional donors as part of the strategy. Looking back, I think it was important that we did that. When I was asked to be a part of it, it didn’t occur to me to say no. I knew everyone else was going to do their part. I think other events like Big Hearts for Big Kids really pave the way to say this can be done.”
Park feels that Grande Prairie is a totally unique community in the province and incredibly supportive.
“Grande Prairie kind of just does its own thing. People really feel like when they take on a campaign like this or even something smaller, they can do anything. We’ve seen such amazing fundraising, commitment, and volunteerism in the city. Saying no doesn’t exist here. It is so powerful that our community stands behind getting bigger and better, from the person who is living on the streets to the person that can afford so much more,” she says.
Allard says that people take a great deal of pride in saying that they were a part of this campaign.
“I think it’s huge. I think it gives everybody ownership into what our health care can look like and buys into the vision of the future for this province and this community specifically. As MLA, I hear a lot about how much the Grande Prairie area contributes to the province. It goes back to what Cindy said when we’re told we can’t, that’s when we really push to make it happen.”
The Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign and Festival of Trees are two examples of initiatives that members of the community have taken part in to support the Hospital Foundation.
“This campaign really showed us that everybody has a role to play and everybody’s role is valuable,” Allard adds.