$1.3 million for JoeAnna's House

It will forever be remembered as a landmark evening in the history of Kelowna General Hospital. This past Saturday, September 8, 220 guests at the KGH Foundation’s Heart of Gold Gala together raised over $1.3 million in support of JoeAnna’s House.

The Heart of Gold Gala, hosted by the KGH Foundation every two years, has become known as the region’s most spectacular fundraising event to benefit KGH. The total amount raised exceeded all expectations, surpassing 2016’s total by nearly $300,000.

“Honestly, we are beyond thrilled,” said an emotional Sasha Carter, the KGH Foundation’s Director of Legacy Giving and this year’s master of ceremonies.  “The feeling can only be described as humbling. The generosity shown this evening is deeply moving. I’m really proud to be a part of this community.”

The event was held on the corner of Royal Ave. and Abbott St., the future home of JoeAnna’s House. The existing parking lot was transformed into a beautiful façade of the home away from home that JoeAnna’s House promises to be for thousands of families that must travel with their loved ones to KGH for specialized medical care.

The KGH Foundation announced its plans to build and operate JoeAnna’s House nearly one year ago in October 2017. Since then, the community has stepped up with unprecedented gusto to support the project.

The cause hits close to home for many, including honorary event chairs, Joe Huber and Hilde Schneider, children of the late Josef and Anna Huber, for whom JoeAnna’s House is named. Huber spoke not only as a son wishing to carry out his parents’ legacy, but also as a father who knows first-hand the hardship of having a sick child.  “We know the feeling of being vulnerable, when the people you love most in the world are in the hands of someone else,” Huber shared.

The Huber family, founders of Prestige Hotels and Resorts hospitality properties, provided the lead gift for JoeAnna’s House, but Schneider acknowledged that it would take much more to see this project through. “We are honored to be a small part of this project. But ultimately, it will be this community that makes it possible.”

On behalf of the title sponsor, the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation, local philanthropist Tom Budd also gave an amazing contribution of $250,000 to support JoeAnna’s House. When asked what touched him about the cause, he said simply, “I’ve supported patient care at KGH for many years. The need for JoeAnna’s House is the evolution of that care. Simply put, giving is everything.”

The incredible response to the evening’s appeal advances the KGH Foundation’s ability to deliver on their promise to fund the build, and ultimately operate JoeAnna’s House in perpetuity. 

“Our Heart of Gold donors have advanced this important project significantly,” said Doug Rankmore, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “JoeAnna’s House will always depend on the generosity of donors to keep the doors open. Every gift to this beautiful home away from home will ensure that we can keep families together when they need it the most.”