An artists rendition of JoeAnna’s House, a facility to provide accommodation for families with loved ones being treated at KGH. —Image: contributed

Kelowna Foundation contributed $500,000 to JoeAnna’s House project at KGH

JoeAnna’s house will provide a place for out-of-town families with loved ones in the hospital

True to its mission and in the spirit of working together for the betterment of children in our community, the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation, better known as the Kelowna Foundation, has committed half a million dollars to help build and open JoeAnna’s House.

The Kelowna Foundation is an organization that unites donors whose chief philanthropic interest lies in advancing the health, wellness, poverty and protection of vulnerable children and youth. JoeAnna’s House promises to provide a home away from home for the families of out of town patients who are required to travel to Kelowna General Hospital for advanced medical care. While JoeAnna’s House will be open to the families of all patients, priority will be given to families with infants and children in hospital.

Recognizing the need for such a home away from home in Kelowna, individuals involved with Kelowna Foundation committed their initial financial support for JoeAnna’s House shortly after the $8 million campaign to build the house was announced Oct 3, 2017.

Not satisfied with just writing a cheque, the foundation also sought creative ways to provide campaign leadership, encouraging others to contribute as well.

In May, foundation president Al Hildebrandt announced his organization would match every gift made on the KGH Foundation’s Day of Giving, as well as the KGH Foundation’s spring mailer which featured the JoeAnna’s House appeal, dollar for dollar.

The unprecedented community response to the Day of Giving raised $177,000. The spring mailer generated another $72,275, meaning a total of $249,275 was raised. Delivering on its promise, the Kelowna Foundation matched both initiatives, bringing its total gift to JoeAnna’s House to $500,000.

“JoeAnna’s House promises to be a game-changer for families having to travel to Kelowna for medical care,” said Hildebrandt. “Keeping families together is critical. Being together can be the light of hope in those really dark days. Together, we can change everything for these families,”

As Kelowna General Hospital continues to expand its capacity to deliver specialized, advanced medical services to infants and children, an increasing number of beds are becoming occupied by patients from outside the Central Okanagan. It can often be difficult for families who want to remain close to their children while they are in hospital.

While other large provincial referral hospitals in the Lower Mainland and Calgary benefit greatly from Ronald McDonald Houses, currently there is nothing similar for the families of Kelowna General’s out-of-town patients.

“The Kelowna Foundation continues to challenge the status quo when it comes to what we are prepared to do, and to give, to support the children of our region,“ said Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation.

“This $500,000 contribution is incredible.”

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