Jim Mitchell and Don Popple were thanked for their years of dedication to the Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation during the foundation's AGM on Thursday Sept. 20. Presented with wood carvings by local artist Terry Adair the two men reflected on what the board and health services meant to them. From left HHHSF executive director Lisa Tompkins Jim Mitchell Don Popple and HHHSF board chair Peter Oyler. /JENN WATT Staff

Foundation transfers more than $1M to HHHSPopple Mitchell Morrison leave board

By Jenn Watt

Published Sept. 25 2018

The last fiscal year community donations have supported a new palliative centre bone mineral densitometry equipment a portable ultrasound CBC analyzer accessible bathtub emergency response units furniture and a treatment table for physiotherapy.

In other words: “Another good year for the foundation” according to John West of Grant Thornton LLP which conducted this year’s audit.

The Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation held its annual general meeting on Sept. 20 and was presented with the financial statements that reflected a strong year of fundraising with more than $1 million flowing to HHHS corporation.

“Overall I think it’s been a very good year for the foundation. Again the revenue’s up. Contributions to the corporation are up. Obviously the projects captured the interest of the community” West said.

Lisa Tompkins executive director of the foundation said total funding transfers to HHHS between April 1 2017 and March 31 2018 were $1038950.

“We’re proud to say that the equipment really reflects the spectrum of health-care service delivery over the year. So of course the palliative centre construction was the lion’s share of that … but for diagnostics [there was] bone mineral densitometry which was a longstanding project that we raised funds for in pretty well the 18 months preceding its arrival” she said noting purchases for the emergency long-term care physiotherapy and community support departments.

The palliative centre which required a $1.25 million investment from the foundation opened last August. Tompkins thanked Dale Walker the previous executive director for successfully organizing the Making Moments Matter campaign that brought in that money.

“We reached our fundraising goal before construction was completed” Tompkins said.

The foundation has four key fundraisers throughout the year: the Matt Duchene Charity Golf Classic the Cash for Care Lottery the radiothon and Believe in the Magic of Giving Christmas giving campaign.

In 2017 the golf classic brought in $57100 for bone densitometry; the radiothon raised $28500 for a portable ultrasound Cash for Care brought in $34500 and the Christmas campaign was responsible for $127600. HHHSF also raises money through the Todd’s Independent Curl for Care bonspiel sealed bid art auctions teddy bear program planned giving and gifts in memory of others.

The meeting featured a presentation by Darcy Burke who spoke on behalf of his daughter Morgan Burke of The Birds and the Bees Honey. Burke said his daughter was looking to give back to the community and decided she’d fundraise for health care. She is selling specially marked honey around the county with a portion of sales going to HHHSF. She also organized an open house on Sunday Sept. 23 with opportunities to sponsor parts of the business including the hives queen bee worker bees drones etc. When you sponsor the bees you get products created by the bees and a portion of the sponsorship goes to HHHSF.

“It’s a lovely new third party fundraising event” said Tompkins.

HHHS CEO Carolyn Plummer provided the group with context about the impact donor money is having on local health care. She said in the last fiscal year there were 47 admissions to the palliative centre with 60 per cent of them involving a cancer diagnosis. The accessible washroom in the suite has been praised by those using the space as well as HHHS staff and by visitors conducting an accessibility audit of the facility.

The telemedicine equipment which benefited from Cash for Care dollars has been upgraded with a bigger screen with sharper images. In the last fiscal year there were 1400 Ontario Telemedicine Network clinical visits in the telemedicine suite accounting for 400000 kilometres of travel and 8000 hours of time saved for patients.

The bone densitometry service began in January and from then until March of this year 133 clients were served. Plummer said she’d like to see an increase in the number of days it’s offered each week as it’s “wildly popular.”

She indicated that because HHHS is a co-lead on the recently launched Youth Wellness Hub in Haliburton there will be funding needs coming.

The HHHSF board gave a hearty thanks to three board members who will not be returning. Scotty Morrison Jim Mitchell and Don Popple are each leaving the board.

Morrison wasn’t at the meeting however both Mitchell and Popple were present to receive handmade sculptures from local artist Terry Adair and words of appreciation from board chairman Peter Oyler and Tompkins.

Popple will remain on the finance committee. Tompkins said his contributions had been “immeasurable.”

Popple has been with the foundation since 1997 and said he treasured being part of the team. He recalled when they were first setting out raising money for two new facilities in Minden and Haliburton.
He remembered getting together with Hugh Nichol and David Gray asking 12 local businesses to give $25000 apiece. They agreed to meet in a few days’ time.

“When we showed up to the meeting we had $300000. Nobody said no. Nobody” Popple said.
Along the way the board has had good team players he said.

“The foundation can only be successful if that’s what you’ve got. You’ve got to have a strong team.”
Mitchell who joined the board in 2001 said it had been a privilege and honour to serve on the board.
“I’ll miss everybody around the room” he said.

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved as a team and a group over the years.”

Tompkins noted that Mitchell was a regular fixture at fundraising events willing to step up to help.
Members of the board going forward: Dave Coulson Peter Oyler Eric Recalla Greta LaRiviere Murray Martin Gary Pike David Zilstra Steve Todd Richard Wannan and Carol Patrick.