With over a century of service, Calgary’s Children’s Hospital Aid Society earns philanthropic award

With over a century of service, Calgary’s Children’s Hospital Aid Society earns philanthropic award

From the Calgary Herald – With no office and no paid staff, it’s no mean feat to raise half a million dollars for charity every year.

Yet the Children’s Hospital Aid Society, founded in Calgary in 1908, continues to raise huge money to help children throughout southern Alberta.

“We started in the Beltline, in a house that served as the children’s hospital back then,” says Patricia Rossiter, volunteer president of the 110-year-old society that has been named a Generosity of Spirit Award honouree by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“We were the first charity in Canada to do a house lottery. We sold tickets for 25 cents on a house in Mount Royal. We were also part of the initial Easter Seals campaign until it hived off. That’s why we have a special relationship with them to this day,” she explains.

The society funds many charities in Calgary that contribute to the health, well-being and safety of children and young adults in the Calgary region. However, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation is their reason for being.

“We give about 30 to 40 per cent of the money to them. We sit down every year and go through their approved projects — it’s always a long list,” she says.

The society funded the first mannequin used in the Alberta Children’s Hospital KidSIM program, where pediatric care teams use the high-tech mannequin to rehearse simulated ‘real-life’ situations. The program has grown to be the largest pediatric simulation centre in Canada.

An honouree in the Philanthropic Group category, the Children’s Hospital Aid Society will be recognized during a National Philanthropy Day celebration on Nov. 14 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Big Four Roadhouse, Stampede Grounds.

Each year, the Calgary and area chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals marks this day by honouring individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the community.

Sheelagh Mercier, gift planner at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, nominated the Children’s Hospital Aid Society.

“They have known the value of philanthropy longer than anyone,” she says, adding that the organization remains innovative, with the courage to support leading-edge research or new programs.

“They run the longest running charity golf tournament in Calgary, which is their largest money maker, and their advocacy for children’s health is inspirational,” Mercier says.

The society has raised and donated almost $10 million in the past 40 years.

With just 75 active members, the eldest of which recently turned 90, Rossiter says the amount of money the group returns to the community is impressive. She attributes their sustained passion for philanthropy to the comradery within their membership.

“We do things as a group,” she says. “It’s knowing you’re doing something good for the community with 75 pretty nice people.”

Tickets for the National Philanthropy Day celebration can be purchased online here.

This year’s other Generosity of Spirit honourees are:

Lifetime Achievement Philanthropist: Tom and Debra Mauro
Long-time Calgary philanthropists, Tom and Debra Mauro, share a deep belief in helping those less fortunate. Both Tom and Debra, who sold Albi Homes to Brookfield Residential in 2015, have chaired boards and served as directors for many Calgary charities. They were instrumental in establishing the Sheldon Kennedy Advocacy Centre in 2013 and were nominated by chief executive officer Sara Austin.

Corporate Philanthropist: TELUS
TELUS and 50,000 team members and retirees have contributed more than $525 million to charitable organizations and have volunteered the equivalent of more than one million days since 2000. The company’s social philosophy is “give where you live.” TELUS was nominated by Derek Bechthold, director of fund development for the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured.

Small Business Philanthropist: Supreme Menswear
There’s a quote on the wall at Supreme Menswear; “Giving Back is Always in Style”, a philosophy of owner Darren Biedermann. Acting on a friend’s suggestion, he initiated clothing drives to help men at Fresh Start Recovery Centre and was further inspired to raise cash for the organization. Wayne Steer, director of fund development for Fresh Start Recovery Centre, nominated Supreme Menswear.

Doc Seaman Individual Philanthropist: Evan Hazell
After a successful professional career, Calgarian Evan Hazell generously gives his time, talents and financial resources. He was an influential force while co-chairing YMCA Calgary’s recent and highly successful capital campaign. A caring philanthropist, with an ability to make decisions in difficult times, Hazell always sees the greater good. He was nominated by the YMCA’s general manager of fund development, Jennifer Walker, and Calgary Opera’s director of fund development, Suzanne Boyd.

Youth Philanthropist — Sponsored by RBC: Tina Guo
Coming from a background filled with poverty, Tina Guo is a highly engaged and involved medical student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She dedicates hours to advocate and fundraise for issues surrounding domestic violence. Nominated by Jenna Dobry, program director of Outrun the Stigma, and Robyn Jackson, senior development officer with YW Calgary, Guo helped raise $34,000 in the organization’s 2017 charity run, breaking previous records.

Philanthropic Family — Sponsored by United Way of Calgary and Area: Alan and Shelly Norris
Service is in the Norris family DNA. Allan, as chairman and chief executive officer of Brookfield Residential, chaired the recent $120 million Resolve Campaign to provide affordable housing in Calgary while Shelly has done everything from door-to-door campaigns for various health charities to chairing boards. With their four children, they contribute financially to the community through their family foundation. The couple was nominated by MaryAnn Steen, director of development for the Resolve Campaign, and Ann O’Donnell, director of resource development and communications for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.


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