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Foundation celebrates hospital, giving, community

Foundation celebrates hospital, giving, community

[RRHF Gala tops previous years raising approx. $50,000]

Click here to view the RRHF Million Dollar Gala Photo Gallery Album

“The Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Foundation is not just about raising money, it’s about building awareness in our community about the hospital’s mission and how it serves us all,” said RRHF Executive Director Kim Metcalf.

"Something I think is very important is staging events that give our community an opportunity to see that mission at work, and meet other people who are devoted to the cause."

Throughout the year, the Foundation hosts a Christmas Tree Village fund-raiser, a Women’s Health and Wellness Expo, an annual tea, and of course the organization’s signature fund-raising gala.

Even before taking the helm of the Foundation in 2018, Kim was the gala coordinator in 2017. Each gala has raised tens of thousands of dollars in one evening. “But I also wanted to offer our donors an experience that felt special.” Every September Metcalf chooses a posh venue and sells a limited amount of tickets that include luxe décor, gourmet cuisine, show-stopping entertainers and an auction.

"The first year, people were just excited to get dressed up and attend an elegant event,” she said. “Now we believe this is an important opportunity to showcase the mission of the Foundation, and help our donors see the good their gifts do in our community."

But this year, the Foundation had even more to celebrate — and not just because this summer it eclipsed $1 million in cumulative giving since 2015. “Last year, our sponsors were very supportive about our gala-to-go event.” This year, the Foundation was not sure if it would be relegated to another virtual event. Metcalf and hospital staff and volunteers came up with a plan to adhere to pandemic-related safety guidelines. The gathering was held outdoors, with proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative testing results for all participating staff and guests and luxurious gold glittery masks were made available to all who entered. Food, wine and atmosphere were as opulent as ever. Guests were still encouraged to dress up for the Black-tie affair. Kimberly Parent of RDK Catering spends months planning a unique gourmet menu that matched the theme of the event.

Metcalf said she was still bringing in money at the end of the event, thanks to some new fund-raising initiatives this year. At the end of the auction, those who did not win any items through bidding made donations. Metcalf also sold souvenir cocktail shakers. Anyone who was unable to attend the gala but wants to make a contribution can contact her about getting a shaker in exchange for a donation, while supplies last. By the end of the event she believed the foundation had raised approximately $50,000. 

“Even though our focus is always on the Foundation and its mission, this year we are also celebrating the fact that we live in an amazing community and we still have opportunities to safely be together.” The Gala sold out well ahead of the event date, but Metcalf said there are still many ways to give — including contributions to the Children’s Kingdom, Tree of Life, and newly formed Fred Hawkins EMT Scholarship Fund.

The Butterfly Boutique on Balsam Street, an upscale re-sale shop, has also raised $200,000 for RRH since it first opened a few years ago. ”These are just a few ways to be a part of the Foundation,” said Kim. For more information give her a call at 760-499-3955, email or visit RRH.ORG/FOUNDATION.