Community support for PRH impresses Foundation’s new leader

Carey Bornn is the new executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.
Image Credit: Contributed

PENTICTON - As a fundraiser, milk and cookies can sometimes be a prime staple in Carey Bornn’s diet.

The new executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation smiles when asked to reflect on his 25 years of fundraising experience.

He recalled how many times he has been invited in by donors for milk and cookies or a cup of tea, while discussing a possible contribution.

“You meet a lot of donors and they’d invite you over and have tea, milk and cookies on the table,” he said. “It’s all about relationships. That’s what gives me the desire to come back to the office.”

Bornn comes to the SOS Medical Foundation from the University of Calgary, but he also worked for five years at Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation in New Westminster and later at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Bornn said he learned a lot about health care services during this period.

“At Royal Columbian, you really got to know all the departments,” he said. “One of my strongest memories is doing tours of the hospital (with major donors).”

Rather than focusing on the dollars raised in a given campaign, Bornn said he gets more satisfaction over seeing what those donations can do.

“What gives me passion for fundraising is seeing the outcome – buying a piece of equipment and being able to show people later on.”

Bornn views his arrival in the South Okanagan-Similkameen while the Foundation is in the middle of its multimillion dollar PRH tower campaign as a tremendous opportunity.
“I like the positive feel I got right from the start – that it is already a very successful campaign,” he said. “We’ve had excellent leadership and we have a community that’s fully behind it.”

Bornn praised residents throughout the region for getting solidly behind the PRH expansion.

“We’re part of the community, instead of raising money in the community. That’s a sense I got right off the bat,” he said. “Just the fact that there are people who want to come into our office every day (to donate) says so much. Certainly we never saw that at Royal Columbian.”

Looking ahead to the future, Bornn sees the community continuing to support the hospital.

“The needs will always be there. We’ll build the tower and have the equipment, but there will still be refurbishing of the old building and needs that come up as aging equipment gets replaced.”

The Foundation has so far raised more than $12 million in donations and pledges in its $20-million campaign to provide medical equipment for the PRH expansion. 

Construction is now underway and should be complete by early 2019, when work will begin on Phase 2 – a major expansion of the Emergency Department to almost four times its current size.

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