The Island Hospital Foundation has had to find creative ways to raise money to support hospital programs and services since its two usual major fundraising events were affected by the pandemic.
First, the spring Gala of Hope was canceled, and the annual golf tournament was the next to go — at least in the traditional sense.
Director Jeannette Papadakis said foundation staff and board members have worked hard to keep the money coming in. Donations pay for various things for the hospital, including three mental health programs, cancer care relief, chaplain services and health screenings. This year, there are additional expenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation’s annual golf event last year brought in roughly $57,000 after expenses.
This year, the foundation is hosting what it’s calling the Mulligan Match. Staff called all of the people and companies that normally sponsor the golf tournament and asked them instead to make a donation to the Mulligan Match fund.
A mulligan in golf is a do-over or another try, Papadakis said. The foundation needs that second try to help cover necessary hospital expenses, she said.
So far, the Mulligan Match has brought in $52,250, with 11 sponsors who have yet to respond.
“People are standing behind this community and behind Island Hospital,” Papadakis said.
The Mulligan Match money is earmarked to be spent on expanding COVID-19 testing, Papadakis said. In August, the hospital performed 1,300 COVID-19 tests. It is working to obtain additional equipment and tests and to use in-house and external laboratories to get results faster, she said.
When the foundation canceled its 2020 Gala of Hope in the spring, it also put out the call to donors to help with COVID-19 relief to help fund additional protective equipment, implementing telehealth and purchasing ventilators the hospital needed.
So far in 2020, the foundation has brought in roughly $1.8 million, but still has a way to go, she said.
The hospital has asked the foundation to raise at least $2 million this year to help offset the extra pandemic-related costs, Papadakis said.
“We are just in awe and grateful for what this community has come forward to donate,” she said.
Next year’s Gala of Hope is scheduled for April 21, Papadakis said.