On November 3rd the Gifford Medical Center Auxiliary was honored by the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) with the Northern New England Chapter’s 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser.
Each year the AFP, which has 230 chapters around the world, presents this award to recognize outstanding volunteers who coordinate and motivate groups of volunteers for fundraising projects that benefit charitable institutions.
Auxiliary President Margaret Osborn, past President Louise Clark, past President and current Nominating Chair Mickie Richardson, and Membership Chair Anne Pritchard travelled to Portland, Me. to accept the award at the AFP National Philanthropy Day luncheon.
“We were stunned when we first learned that we had received the award because we didn’t even know that we had been nominated!” Osborn said. “The auxiliary has a long history in this community—it was created and has survived because people recognized the importance of our community hospital. We don’t want to lose it.”
Started as the “Randolph Sanatorium Ladies Aid Society” in 1906, the auxiliary’s first recorded donation to Gifford was in 1907: $300 to fund a “free bed” for one year, and $200 for general financial aid. This year it contributed the largest gift in Gifford’s history: a $1 million contribution to the Vision of the Future campaign, which supported the creation of a new nursing home, 25 new private inpatient rooms, and a new, modernized Birthing Center. This gift was especially impressive as the funds were raised primarily through small-dollar sales of “re-purposed” items at the volunteer-run Auxiliary Thrift Shop.
Since 1976 Thrift Shop volunteers have been transforming donated clothing and unused clutter into useful items for bargain-hunting shoppers and people in need. But its success cannot be measured just by generated revenue. It is a welcoming gathering spot for both customers and volunteers, providing rewarding opportunities for community members—many of them seniors—who want to be of service.
Auxiliary funds have also consistently supported a range of community projects and services over the years:
- Annual scholarships for high school students to help ease the financial burdens when pursuing careers in health-related professions
- Annual nursing and Licensed Nurse’ Aide scholarships have been offered since the hospital’s Nursing School closed in 1959.
- Hand-knitted hats and mittens for area school children and hats for babies born at the Gifford Birthing Center
- Annual “Wish List” funding for important medical equipment and special hospital department needs (i.e. a lending library books for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program; sturdier chairs for patient rooms, emergency department patient TVs, child CPR and bereavement materials)
- Funding for major Gifford building projects, such as the Philip Levesque Medical Building, the Robin’s Nest Child Enrichment Center, and most recently a generous $1 million dollar gift to support the Vision for the Future capital campaign.