The Pender Harbour and District Health Centre has launched an endowment fund they hope will help improve the community-funded organization’s services.
“It’s something we’ve been talking about for a couple years,” said the endowment fund’s chair, Michael Ross.
The fund will allow legacy donations to be invested, netting an annual return Ross said could be used to expand programs or purchase equipment.
Currently the health centre operates on a roughly $500,000 annual budget used to provide its many services, including programming geared towards youth, seniors and diabetics.
Home care, nursing, drop-ins, lab work and other services are also offered to some extent, “all paid for by us,” Ross said.
The centre does not bill the Medical Services Plan. Instead it operates — somewhat uniquely, according to Ross — by putting donations, revenue sources and volunteerism to work.
“There’s a lot of volunteers and all of our staff are pretty dedicated folks. We’ve been very fortunate throughout the years,” he said. “We’ve always had extremely dedicated staff.”
The health centre’s main sources of funding have included money from Vancouver Coastal Health. Currently, VCH underwrites services like blood work and home care for the residents of Pender Harbour using the centre.
An annual operating grant from the Sunshine Coast Regional District helps to cover things like building maintenance and utilities. Other sources of revenue include the Bargain Bin retail store and rents paid by tenants.
With the establishment of the endowment, Ross said the hope is to create a sustainable future-funding source, one that can pay yearly returns to finance programming and equipment.
“We need to provide for the citizens up here in this area,” he explained, pointing to the Health Centre’s mandate to provide services locally, giving patients a local care option besides Sechelt or Vancouver.
Like the rest of the Coast, the population in Pender Harbour is an aging one.
For an organization like the health centre, finding other models for inspiration can be a difficulty.
“We could probably toot our horn more than we do,” Ross said. “We don’t really make a big issue of what we do … we’re not in the game for publicity. We’re in the game to help our people.”