The Donors: Katie Harrigan and St. Michael's Young Leaders
The Gift: $200,000 and climbing
The Cause: St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
The Reason: To finance inner-city health programs
When Katie Harrigan’s boss suggested that she get involved with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, she didn’t hesitate.
One of Ms. Harrigan’s relatives and a close friend had both received life-saving treatment at the hospital and she had been interested in getting involved at the hospital for some time. The push came from her boss, Tony Arrell, chief executive of Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. and chair of the hospital’s foundation.
“This was something I was looking for anyway,” recalled Ms. Harrigan, 32, who has been active in several other charities for years. “I know first-hand how important this hospital is to people.”
She began organizing a group of young professionals from across Toronto, bringing them to her office to learn about St. Michael’s from hospital officials. The group grew to around 35 and in 2008 they began pulling together a series of fundraising activities.
Today the St. Michael’s Young Leaders hold three annual events: a dodge ball tournament, a golf event and a cocktail party. So far the group has raised about $200,000 and some of the events attract up to 600 people.
The group has focused its effort on a select number of programs at St. Michael’s. “We knew that we weren’t going to be raising millions. And these programs are not as difficult to fundraise for,” she said.
The money has gone mainly into the hospital’s inner-city health programs and has helped pay for a trauma stretcher in the emergency room, fluid warmers and a baby simulator that is used for teaching. The group is also helping to finance a “Baby and Me Passport” project aimed to help at-risk mothers.
“I think we are instilling in young people the importance of giving back,” Ms. Harrigan said. “I find it fulfilling and I just encourage people to do it. It’s so important.”