Media Release

BUH Foundation Chair Impressed by Huge Donation

June 5th 2014

Battlefords Union Hospital Foundation Board of Director Chair impressed by, grateful for, huge donation

 

Battlefords Union Hospital (BUH) Foundation Chair Brenda Sparrow discusses a decision by former North Battleford residents Dennis and Shell Balon to donate $100,000 from their estate to the BUHF as well as $25,000 over five years for hospital equipment.

Battlefords Union Hospital Foundation Chair Brenda Sparrow says she, the board and BUHF staff are bowled over by the generosity of former resident Dennis Balon.

Balon and his wife Shell have donated a planned gift of $100,000 from their estate, plus $25,000 for equipment purchases.

As a result, a new column for the BUHF donor wall was unveiled during a reception at the Dekker Centre Wednesday night.

During a speech last night, Sparrow noted the Balon’s announcement blew BUHF officials away.

“We were rocked,” Sparrow said. “We didn’t really know how to respond. We didn’t even have a column on our donor wall for such a gift.”

It’s all about leaving a legacy for others, Sparrow said.

“Hold a grandchild – right here – over your heart. You feel the heart, the baby, the love, and you want to leave the world a better place,” Sparrow said. “You may not be there to hold their children, but you need to leave a legacy for them.”

Sparrow, a retired teacher, now works to improve the quality of education in First Nations schools.

She said a beautiful new school in the Ahtahkakoop First Nation near Shellbrook makes the point about legacy as well.

“There’s a large quote on the wall, and it’s not done in a decal that can be taken off. It’s not even a sign board bolted to the wall. It’s chiseled in the brick. And the sign says this, it is a quote from Chief Ahtakakoop in 1846 when he signed Treaty 6: ‘let us think not of ourselves, but of our children’s children,’” Sparrow said.

“Dennis is a man who is thinking not only of his children’s children, but of my children, yours, everyone else’s.”

“Yes, we’ve had some very, very generous donors. We’ve had some very generous endowments,” Sparrow said.

“But we are humble, prairie folk. We are still the generation who hide the new farm equipment behind the barn and don’t drive the new truck because we don’t want to display our wealth.

“How are we to develop donors? How will get people to talk about giving? How would we educate our public?

“And then Dennis Balon changed our world.”

She noted the goal of Dennis and Shell Balon is not only to provide a gift to the Battlefords Union Hospital Foundation but to encourage other residents to do the same.

“Dennis is a man who will leave a legacy of change, not just by donating dollars, but by standing up and saying ‘you can too.’ You can be the change,” she said.

Sparrow said fundraising events are time-consuming and don’t always produce the best return on the dollar for Foundations such as BUHF.

“In my mind I think of them as bingos for bedpans,” she said to laughter.

Sparrow said when the Balons first announced the gift to BUHF, she wondered why they would choose to give the money to a hospital foundation.

“The answer to that is that it serves all without bias,” Sparrow said, quoting Dennis. “I thought that was so incredibly kind. ‘It serves all without bias. We all use its services. We all need enriched health care. You never know who you’re helping when you do these kinds of things.’”

Sparrow noted the Balons have plans every year — and every five-year cycle – to keep putting as much money into the system as they possibly can.

Reported by :  Doug Collie in Daily News

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