Posted by Stephen Housser
In the world of charitable giving there are “transformative gifts”. Basically, gifts so large they transform the recipient organization. Say for example, a $20-million gift to a small college that enables it to build a whole new science wing.
But there are also smaller gifts that can have a huge impact. Example: in 2015 the South Cowichan Rotary Club Foundation gave Cowichan Hospice $5,000 in seed money to help the Society move forward on its dream of a stand-alone 10-bed hospice house for the Cowichan region.
Cowichan Hospice has done an amazing job providing counselling and support for people in their final stage of life, and their families. But it has never had actual hospice beds, so many people have had to spend their final days in a hospital ward. Not great for the dying patient, nor their families.
Cowichan Hospice is determined to change that. Island Health has agreed to fund the operating costs for a new hospice facility, but the Society must come up with the money for construction. No small task for a small, lean, volunteer organization.
The Hospice Society approached the South Cowichan Rotary Club Foundation for help. The Rotary Club and its Foundation have always supported Hospice care programs, but this was a new request: seed money to pay for the first steps leading toward a significant fundraising campaign.
The South Cowichan Rotary Club Foundation made what for it was a ‘stretch’ contribution of $5,000. This went toward an initial site selection study, development of a functional program as the basis for design and generating publicity material highlighting the need for a hospice house.
Fast forward three years from that first gift in 2015. Cowichan Hospice has forged ahead raising several million dollars – even before the “official” fundraising campaign begins. It is coming ever closer to making hospice beds available in the Cowichan Valley. In the kind words of Cowichan Hospice House chair, Christa Fox, “It all started with that one gift from The South Cowichan Rotary Foundation”.
So, you never really know the potential power of a strategic seed gift. Bravo to Cowichan Hospice for making that seed money blossom and helping the dream of hospice beds in Cowichan Valley become reality by 2020. There is still more work to do. More funds to raise. But it is such a worthy project, I hope all good people of Cowichan Valley will jump on board.
Steve Housser
President, South Cowichan Rotary Club Foundation
 
South Cowichan Rotary Foundation presents cheque to Cowichan Hospice