The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation is all about supporting local causes aimed at bettering the community.
“The reason we exist is to provide the best health care we can in this community,” says Jacqueline Brooks, executive director of the eight-person Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “We’re the catalyst for philanthropy in the community. The community provides the support; we’re just the catalyst to help it happen.”
The foundation raises money to support the Red Deer Regional Hospital and is probably best known for the annual Festival of Trees, which the foundation has organized since 1994.
The Festival of Trees is only one of four major fund-raisers for the foundation, which also organizes the Hospital Home Lottery, the Love of Children Golf Tournament and a rural project, Cattle Roundup. An Alberta Health Services staff 50/50 also raises regional money for the hospital.
Brooks says, “Our mandate is to raise money, between two and two-and-a-half million dollars a year, to support programming and equipment in the hospital. I think it’s important to note that every three to five years a lot of medical equipment becomes outdated or worn out, so we are constantly changing and upgrading and there’s only so much money in the pot.”
The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre treats patients from the City and Central Alberta, but it also takes people from elsewhere in the province if it has the room and local hospitals are full, including patients from Edmonton and Calgary.
“The majority of the money we raise goes towards enhancing patient comfort and buying new equipment,” says Brooks. “It also funds scholarships.
“When you’ve been there, you’ll know. When you are in the hospital and you see the staff in Intensive Care, for example, trying to save peoples’ lives and the amount of emotion and time that they put in, you better understand what we do,” she adds.
“What attracts and retains the highest quality staff to provide the highest quality care to our community? It’s good programming and equipment. Hospital staff are the base of what we do there. The purpose of the foundation is to provide the right amount of equipment and the programming they need.”