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The Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation is looking ahead with optimism as its first-ever online, territory-wide cash and prize raffle is taking the place of its main fundraiser.

In a typical year, the foundation would be preparing for the annual gala at the Explorer Hotel on Nov. 21, which is the big fundraiser for the organization. The event has raised $60,000 and more in years past.

Patty Olexin-Lang, executive director with the Stanton Foundation, left, stands with volunteer Annie Steen at the CIBC Run for Our Lives Mud Run in 2019. 
NNSL file photo

Last year, for example, the event sold out with 260 people and raised slightly more than $65,000 after expenses.

“Profits from the gala have gone down over the years because of the turnaround and the changing nature of the mining industry in the Northwest Territories,” Patty Olexin-Lang, executive director of the foundation, said. “Making $100,000-plus at a gala dinner hasn’t been seen for quite a while.”

Five years ago, for example, the gala raised close to $130,000 to go toward dialysis equipment.

This year, due to the pandemic and restrictions on gathering, things initially looked less promising on top of the slower economy.

Olexin-Lang said, however, that things have turned out pleasantly surprising. Although the foundation has had to be flexible in coming up with another fundraiser corporate and individual donations have been generous.

“Like any organization this year, and with the CPHO requirement to not have large type functions, we had to cancel our yearly gala,” she said. “So we had to figure out what we were going to do for annual fundraiser. I personally know there are many online raffles and fundraisers now and that the foundation has not done anything like that before.”

The foundation reached out to the Calgary-based company called Raffle Box earlier this year and has been working with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs lottery corporation.

The event cash draws started on Oct. 9 and the first draw for $1,000 took place on Nov. 2 with a Stanton hospital employee winning the money.

The website’s figure for amount raised has been constantly changing as tickets have been sold, but on Monday afternoon, the campaign has raised $91,980 and Olexin-Lang said that she expects to reach the $100,000 mark by this time next week.

There will be 13 draws, with the pot getting incrementally larger with $50,000 being drawn on New Year’s Day. Leading up to the new year, there will be three more draws of $1,000 which will take place on Dec. 1, 23 and Jan. 1, 2021.

There will also be an early bird draw for $5,000 Nov. 16.

On Jan. 1, aside from the $50,000 draw, there will also be draws for $20,000 (second prize), $10,000 (third prize), $5,000 (fourth prize), $3,000 (fifth prize), and $2,000 (sixth prize).

“So while the gala is our big fundraiser for the year, by going with this size of raffle it will certainly provide a substantial increase in profit,” Olexin-Lang said.

There will also be additional draws on New Years’ Day for corporate donated items that include diamond stud earrings worth $2,095 from Diavik Diamond Mines, an iPhone 11 Pro worth $1,400 from Northwestel and a Gift Card of Choice worth $1,250 from the Elks Lodge 314.

Tickets can be purchased on the Rafflebox website and there are serious incentives to buying in bulk.  Tickets are one for $25, three for $40, 10 for $80 or 20 for $100.

The CIBC Run for Our Lives is also just wrapping up its Mud Bucket Challenge fundraising campaign which officially ran from July to Nov. 1.

The event replaced the annual CIBC Run for Our Lives Mud Run. It was unclear as of press time how much that campaign raised.

Stanton Territorial Hospital 

Stanton Territorial Hospital opened in May 2019 and since then demand for community support for hospital equipment has been steady, Olexin-Lang said.

A full list of what the hospital requires for equipment is expected to be announced in the coming months, she said.

A mammography machine has been mentioned, but various items are expected to be on the hospital’s wish list. 

“Every year the hospital comes up with a wish list and it is formalizing to have that for the foundation going forward,” she said.  “With a new hospital, there are new requirements and we know there will be other pieces of equipment needed. We will take a look at all of the items that they provide with justification to make sure we are spending our money on the most important piece of equipment and patient care items.”

To take part in the cash and prize raffle, please visit the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation Rafflebox website.  

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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