Thirty years of supporting GV Health
Published at: 26 Jul 2019
RIGHT FROM ITS INCEPTION, THE GOULBURN VALLEY HEALTH FOUNDATION HAS HAD A REPUTATION FOR EXCEEDING FUNDRAISING REQUIREMENTS. THE INDEPENDENT PHILANTHROPIC BODY RESPONSIBLE FOR RAISING FUNDS FOR GV HEALTH TURNS 30 THIS YEAR, MARKING THREE DECADES OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT.
It was 1988 when the then-Goulburn Valley Base Hospital ignited a fundraising appeal for a new children's ward at the facility.
Shepparton's Graham Hill had been appointed chair of the building committee at the time and the fundraising appeal was being headed-up by Ross McPherson alongside major gifts committee chairperson Darryl Twitt.
Still the current GV Health Foundation chairperson, Mr McPherson, fondly recalled the success they had.
“It was a phenomenal campaign,” he said.
“We had a great team of people and we overshot our target.”
The Foundation's Director Carmel Johnson had also been appointed to oversee the appeal and she and Mr McPherson described the Foundation's establishment on February 3, 1989.
She said the Foundation was established with the excess $333 000 from the successful children's ward appeal.
“The approval from donors was sought to use the excess funds to ensure the ward would have access to all the required medical equipment and services,” she said.
According to Mr McPherson, who took over as chairperson of the Foundation in 1990 and remains in the role today, children's health rapidly improved in the district.
As funds continued to build, the trust deed was changed to focus on women and children's health.
Both Mr McPherson and Ms Johnson were incredibly grateful for the tremendous support received from the community over the years.
“Over the last 30 years the trust has been generously assisted by the community,” Ms Johnson said.
“We have been fortunate to receive significant bequests and donations from both individuals and the community.
“We're only successful with the support of the community as a regional foundation.
“Given our community have experienced challenging times including a 10-year drought and economic and employment challenges and changes in the workforce, the fact the Foundation has been able to continue to not only survive but thrive is fantastic.
“We have had enormous and humbling donations and financial support from many individuals and companies that continue to support our foundation and health service.”
Ms Johnson noted there had also been support through sponsorship, grants and donations from other philanthropic bodies.
The funding has gone towards purchasing new beds, cots and vital medical equipment for the children's ward, diagnostic equipment as well as supporting the special care nursery.
“Perhaps the hospital would have been unable to get (these items) without the generous contribution from the community,” Ms Johnson said.
Mr McPherson noted, when comparing the funds raised with regional centres like Bendigo and Ballarat, Shepparton tended to raise roughly three times more.
Ms Johnson said the board of trustees had included incredible leaders within the community and former Member for Shepparton Peter Ross-Edwards contributed a great deal during his time in the Foundation.
“At the time of the establishment of the Foundation and appointment of trustees, the then-local member and leader of the National Party Peter Ross Edwards served on the board of trustees for many years and well after his retirement,” she said.
“As a mark of respect, trustees unanimously decided on his retirement to appoint him as patron — a role he held up until his death.
“He was a champion for the GV Base Hospital and later GV Health so it was very fitting he was appointed patron of the Foundation.”
Similarly Mr McPherson commended current Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, who sits on the board of trustees, for her pull in Parliament to attract funding to the hospital.
“We've seen real change since we've had an Independent,” he said.
Many of the trustees have served on the board for a long-time including John Gaylard who joined in 1990 who said he had been involved with the hospital for many years in one way or another.
Mr Gaylard said the cause had been incredibly worthwhile and had been supported by a lot of generous people.
He commended Ms Johnson for being the driving force behind the Foundation.
“She has worked long and hard,” he said.
Perhaps one of the Foundation's biggest projects since the children's ward appeal was the 2010 campaign to establish the Peter Copulos Cancer and Wellness Centre.
“It was fair to say the hospital and health service were overwhelmed with the generosity of the community, again going well over the target of $1.3 million,” Ms Johnson said.
It was also during this time that the Foundation's director role was established and Ms Johnson applied and was appointed to the position after taking on various career changes since the Foundation's establishment.
“I feel privileged to hold this role and over the years the role has shifted from undertaking the GV Health Foundation to taking on fundraising for the whole organisation and community engagement,” she said.
“I want to thank the trustees for their leadership, guidance and wise council and particularly Ross (McPherson) who has been a tireless member of our community.”
When asked if he saw the Foundation continuing for another 30 years and beyond, Mr McPherson said of course.
“There's a stream of regular funding,” he said.
“There are signifi cant lumps of money that keep rolling in.
“People consider the hospital as theirs and we are particularly blessed because of that.”
For more information or to discuss donations contact GV Health Foundation Director Carmel Johnson on (03) 5832 2192.