Now that the fundraising drive for the new regional nursing home in Estevan is well underway, the fundraising committee's chairman is pretty upbeat about their chances of coming up with $8 million as the community's share of the required financing.
Don Kindopp told The Mercury on Monday that the kickoff to the "Leadership" gifts portion of the effort has gone well. Leadership gifts involve donations of $100,000 or more and Kindopp said the committee has already approached the City of Estevan, the RM of Estevan, RM of Coalfields and the RM of Cambria for possible donations. They have also visited with Spectra Credit Union and contacted all the provincial Crown corporations such as SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskEnergy, et al., to see what the interest level is there.
In some instances, the executive members have made a call-back visit to answer questions or concerns and so far, the chairman said, "we haven't received any negative feedback, but we also haven't received any clear indications of what these groups might donate either. But of course we understand too, that this has been a pretty crazy spring and summer, and the rural municipalities for instance have not heard back from senior governments as to what they'll receive in compensation for the flood damage expenses they've gone through."
Once the local governments hear from the provincial and federal governments and receive a cheque or two from them, then they can probably assess what they might be able to contribute to the much needed nursing home that will replace the existing one located on Wellock Road on the city's north side.
The new nursing home is probably going to become an extension of St. Joseph's Hospital and Kindopp said the committee will be complying with a request from Sun Country Health Region authorities to provide a needs assessment report plus an architect's assessment of the planned location to ensure that the nursing home will fit into the plans.
Now that the fundraising pressure is off the community with regards to the new events complex, Spectra Place, it is hoped some additional attention will be placed on the area's next big need.
"We're having a committee meeting on Wednesday (today) to look at the next fundraising phase," said Kindopp. That will mean going out to the community in search of what is being described as "Major" gifts of between $5,000 and $100,000. Again, that will include possible individual donations as well as corporate giving.
The third and final phase will be an all-out, all-inclusive community campaign and Kindopp said they have just started discussing that part of the effort.
The group, registered formally as a charitable committee known as the Hearthstone Community Fund, has a total volunteer list of 37 people who are willing to help them raise money for the badly needed replacement for the ERNH that was built in the early 1960s and currently houses about 80 to 85 senior citizens who require Level III and IV care (intensive needs).
"We certainly need more volunteers. Anyone interested can contact any committee member," said Kindopp, who noted that the committee hoped to be able to wind up the Leadership gifts portion of the campaign by the end of November, understanding that in some instances, corporate budgets aren't finalized until December or later for the next calendar year.
"That's why we haven't set any deadline date for Leadership donors. We know some RM councils might have a budgeted amount for us, but until they get their flood relief numbers, they won't be able to commit," he added.
"Nobody has said no, but what we are hearing is 'we don't know where we're at right now' because senior governments haven't gotten back to them, but once they get the flood relief file straightened out, they can turn their attention and energy to the nursing home," the chairman said.
Kindopp said they are also in the process of having the existing nursing home appraised (building and property) with the expectation that once a value is placed on it, it could be sold with the ensuing revenues being used as part of the local contribution to the project which is expected to cost in the neighbourhood of $40 million with the local community required to raise 20 per cent of the total cost.
Kindopp said he knew that some legacy funds (donations made in the memory of those who have died and family estate contributions) have made a positive impact on the committee.
"These donations in the names of loved ones are greatly appreciated," said Kindopp.
"We are very pleased with the response we've received so far," he said in conclusion.
The chairman said he could not estimate exactly how much has been collected so far for the new nursing home following the early contributions to provide seed money to carry out the necessary feasibility studies.