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Aberdeen Health Foundation marking 30 years serving the community

Jim Gogan has served on the Aberdeen Health Foundation’s board since it was established in 1986.
Jim Gogan has served on the Aberdeen Health Foundation’s board since it was established in 1986.

NEW GLASGOW Aberdeen Health Foundation will be hosting its 30th annual general meeting on Feb. 23.

As the board prepares to mark this milestone, there is one member for whom this represents a significant anniversary as well.

As the board prepares to mark this milestone, there is one member for whom this represents a significant anniversary as well.

Jim Gogan has served on the board all 30 of those years. Reflecting back to how it all began, he is struck by how the need remains very much the same.

Gogan recalls, “My wife and I used to play bridge with Dr. MacQuarrie and his wife Caroline. He was very concerned that equipment was wearing out at the hospital and that with cutbacks from the government, it wouldn’t be possible to replace needed equipment.”

MacQuarrie’s friends responded by passing the hat around and managed to collect enough to get a few new items, helping to alleviate their friend’s immediate concerns. But they realized that wouldn’t be sustainable.

More people got involved and soon the idea to create a charitable foundation emerged. “We dreamed that if we could create an endowment we could use the interest earned to buy new equipment every year.”

They set a goal of $5 million, and with Scott Weeks as chair of the Capital Campaign and John Hamm as chair of the Foundation, they let the community know that if they were successful they would not have to ask again for more.

They hired a professional fundraiser from Toronto who told them they would never raise that kind of money for an endowment. Clearly, those fundraisers didn’t know this community. The campaign team raised $6.5 million.

Another success Gogan mentions is more recent. In 2013, the former Children’s Aid Society of Pictou County transferred its endowment to the Aberdeen Health Foundation, ensuring the donations it had amassed in its 97-year history would continue to serve the people of Pictou County. 

“It was really flattering when the CAS Endowment came to the Foundation – that they put their trust in us.” Gogan is also proud of how the fund expanded the Foundation’s reach in the community, providing funding to programs that foster healthy, resilient families in Pictou County.

Gogan, who worked for Sobeys for much of his life and served as president & CEO of Empire, is pleased to have given 30 years to the Aberdeen Health Foundation and to have worked with so many committed board members.

He is also incredibly thankful for the organization’s executive director, Susan Malcolm, whom he describes as the rock. “She’s been the arms, legs, eyes and heart of the organization for 20 of our 30 years, we’re very fortunate to have such a great leader and cheerleader for the Foundation.”

At its AGM, the Aberdeen Health Foundation will be focusing on the future. Michelle Ward, executive director of Kids First, will give a presentation entitled “Health Is More Than the Absence of Illness”; a conversation to broaden the thinking about health beyond acute care to the community factors that play a role in wellness. Ward will discuss how the Foundation’s funding is having an impact on the families her organization serves. It will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom of the Aberdeen Hospital. To learn more visit aberdeenhealthfoundation.com/Report2017.

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