Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon. Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada
2022 is a brand new year with incredible opportunity.
We’ve been reminded of something important in the past two years – that we are highly adaptable and can achieve great things in tough times. After all, 2021 was one of our most challenging years, but it was also by far our most successful – raising well over $51M and recovering from a challenging 2020.
As we enter this new year – with a few obstacles in our path – I am inspired and ready for this next phase of our journey. Our CCHF & CMN partners are committed, and many are working on new ways to engage their communities, customers, and their employees. Furthermore, Canadians are ready to support the cause of children’s health – especially when they feel personally connected.
We learned this lesson from the Thistledown Foundation which traditionally supported other important causes. But when someone close to them needed the life-saving care from a children’s hospital, they were very generous – because they knew they could make a difference, and create impact by giving to children’s hospital foundations.
The recent $26M gift from Thistledown Foundation demonstrates the principle that when there is a personal connection, a compelling need, and the impact is easily understood – the outcome is incredible.
Just days before the holidays, I received the following email from Meghan Hanley – the Chief Operating Officer of the Thistledown Foundation – in which she was expressing her appreciation for working with the CCHF network. She also noted that she had received messages from far and wide, “most of them leading to a damp eye and sniffles.” She went on to share more insights relating to the colleague who inspired the gift: a mother of a baby with a rare form of cancer who needed acute care from a children’s hospital. This mom has been sharing her story within her networks and has been encouraging people to make donations to children’s hospitals in their local communities, that help children and families like her own.
Meghan also expressed how brave this family has been and that “unfortunately there’s not yet a happy ending and it was very moving to the donor to want to help kids across the country.” I liked to believe this amazing expression of philanthropy, motivated by personal connection to the cause, may lead to more financial support for our Member Foundations in the future.
In the meantime, we have many corporate partners, participants and donors who are also connected to our impact story which is national in scope, but local and personal in the magic that is realized through our 13 Member children’s hospital foundations.
As I enter my fifth year as President & CEO of Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations, and in the second year of our (three year) strategic plan, I’ve been reflecting on what we offer companies and donors, and together with our Member Foundations the progress we are making in fundraising and impact. In 2016 – the year prior to CCHF being created – approximately $40M was being raised. Thanks to our collective efforts and an unwavering focus on raising funds and enabling impact, we were able to reach $51M in 2021.
We continue to be guided by the four pillars, in which we make strategic investments to boost our trajectory with a goal of $56M this year.
Here’s a recap of our strategies, and why they matter:
1. Cultural and Operational Excellence.
This means becoming better at what we do in all aspects of our business including our culture, governance, collaboration and partnerships.
2. Value Equation.
We must continue to offer something other national causes do not, a story which will make our partnerships more strategic, resulting in more value for children’s hospitals, the children they serve, and our extraordinary network of corporate partners.
3. Data and Digital Leadership.
This means continuing to evolve our fundraising into the future. This is out of necessity and it is also making it a competitive advantage.
4. Blue Ocean Expansion.
Innovation must be part of everything we do, and we must be bold and create what has never been created before. This includes fundraising in new ways, and delivering impact stories and measurement in ways that are innovative and make a difference.
We believe that the more funds we raise, the more impact we will enable, and the more impact we enable, the more funds we will raise. Through our bottom-up, top-down planning – supported by an exceptional national, local and personal impact stories – we will be successful in reaching our $56M goal together.
Success will not be just handed to us; our national corporate partners and donors are on this journey with us – and by following our strategy, working as a united collective and by staying focused on the ‘why’ – I am confident we will deliver another successful year.
– Written by Mark Hierlihy, President & CEO, Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations
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