Mike Uncorked: A Valley Triumph!
By Mike Butler
If you’ve been a Wolfville resident for a while then you’ve no doubt heard of, or had an experience at, the Eastern Kings Memorial Health Centre (EKM).
When the EKM Hospital closed in the early 1990s, the EKM Hospital Foundation transitioned to the EKM Health Foundation. At the time of closure, the province took possession of the actual hospital building, and the donations made to build a new hospital in Wolfville, along with operating funds, were transferred to the Health Foundation, as well as various parcels of land. At the time of the transition, there was approximately $1 million in investments transferred to the new Health Foundation.
Through a very conservative approach to investing, the Foundation has increased its investments from $1 million to over $4 million as of 2018. As a charity, the Foundation must disburse at least 3.5% of any investment income in a given year to health-related grants. To this end, over twenty years, the Foundation has donated three million dollars within the Eastern Kings catchment area (which contains 63 distinct communities).
Through social media, the Foundation’s website (ekmhealthfoundation.ca), as well as a Facebook page (EKM Health Foundation), they’ve been able to secure a big following in the community. They also advertise their grants program twice a year in local gazettes and newsletters, along with directed emails to local charities.
And just who is the team behind this? Well, the Foundation’s board is comprised of nine volunteer trustees who meet six times a year to discuss the issues of the Foundation at large. Each trustee also sits on one of three sub-committees which also meet an additional three to four times a year. The board is supported by a part-time, paid administrative assistant who manages the day-to-day processing of the grants given, and supports the chair and trustees in their work for the Foundation. Their administrative assistant has been with the Foundation for 16 years and having that stability is wonderful for them.
Over the years, the Foundation has also been the recipient of individual donations “in appreciation,” or “in memory of,” which have helped immensely. They have also been the recipient of some very generous bequests from former supporters of the Wolfville Hospital, including the donation of property.
The Foundation wishes to grow its investments in order to be able to continue providing support to Eastern Kings County through the sponsorship of worthy health-related projects. Through the grants program, the Foundation sponsors approximately $150,000 per year in grants to local organizations which have a charitable tax number and who bring forward proposals that will increase the health of citizens in our communities.
For more information, take the time to browse the website and social media pages, and find out where you can help out and keep this foundation growing and thriving. I wish them all the best and thank them for being part of our community!