Networking has enabled our foundation to grow and nurture beyond our borders year after year. Last Friday, I was called to the office of Dr. Leung, a Vancouver general practitioner and acupuncturist retiring from his 40 year practice. Via a patient and the patient’s neighbour, Colleen Miller, originally from South Africa, who had worked with Jocelyne Lapointe years ago, a vast amount of his office contents were donated to our cause just in time for our upcoming shipments to Mt. Olives Hospital and KBTH.
Dressings, diapers, sutures, syringes, needles, medications, blood pressure kits, cautery, intubation, surgical and orthopedic tools, splints, 3 examining tables, stools, filing stand, files and files of valuable literature for patient teaching and physician guidelines, manuals, to name just a few, found their way piled into our cars.
We are so very appreciative of Dr. Leung and Colleen’s efforts to extend their hand to supporting our partners and citizens in Ghana.
Road construction signage read: “Under construction. Thank you for your patience.” KBF is aware that we are on an amazing journey and expect many learning curves as we grow and develop our foundation. It is members such as our Treasurer, Derek Agyapong-Poku, devoting faithful attention to managing our financial books, day in and day out, that sets an amazing tone for our organization. There are many promising opportunities ahead. The world is our audience. We pray that we will be divinely directed as we take each step prudently forward.
Marj Ratel, President
Giving Something Back
Believing that it is important for our foundation to give something back, Danny Moe, KBF VP conducts Academy Workshops on personal and professional development free for our foundation donors, friends, and students both in North America and West Africa. Attendees express transformative impact and genuine gratitude. Passionate support for project developments is often evident as a ripple effect well beyond these events. Much appreciation goes to Derek Agyapong-Poku for arranging the free use of the UBC / VGH Eye Care Centre’s facilities. And for the volunteers that faithfully arrive and prepare a scrumptious meal partway through the day. A faithful foundation friend and donor over the years, Broadway Lodge administrators enjoyed a half day with Danny, studying the principles of Heart Power (ie. serving with your heart). They express this was a transformative day in their leadership skills development.
The Greater Toronto region boasts the 3rd largest Ghanaian Diaspora in the world. Recognizing that KBF must tap into this market in a more relevant and effective way, Marj met with KBF supporter, Emmanuel Ayiku, Editor of The Ghanaian News, the largest Ghanaian monthly publication in North America. Two articles were published in 2012 authored by the President and preliminary plans are under consideration for multi-Ghanaian church promotional events hosted by The Ghanaian News and Danny’s workshops this year. Workshops are also being considered for our West African Embassy’s resident in Washington.
Sharing the vision and raising project support is principally pursued by word of mouth, internet technology, events and in-person by KBF Board and affiliated foundation Board of Directors, across North America and West Africa. As our members voluntarily share their time while managing busy careers and multifaceted lives, it is imperative that our promotional investments are relevant to our target audiences and have the most cost effective and valuable outcomes possible.
Research in fact identifies that most faithful contributors to charities arise directly from recommendations and endorsements shared by colleagues, friends and family. Target audiences are identified as the Ghanaian and West African Diaspora, health care establishment, universities and corporations, besides the general caring public.
The Ghana Physicians and Surgeons Foundation of North America (GPSF) was established in 2002 to provide quality postgraduate training in Medicine in Ghana. It also serves as an advocacy group to influence health policy and educate the general public about numerous health care issues in Ghana and Africa. The foundation supports all non-profit health initiatives in Ghana by Ghanaian and other health professionals in North America. Quality time is graciously provided during their annual Atlanta conferences and this past year, Drs. Paul King (KBNF), John Sampson (Pres. DrUMM) and Marj Ratel were conference speakers while a table arrangement including photo albums, video footage, and handouts was prominently on display. This year will be no exception, as Marj and Paul are expected to return
Brenda MacLeod’s vision for an annual walk-a-thon fundraiser was launched in October. Inspired by our Montreal KBNC university students a few years ago, the Walk for the Bu raised over $4,000 and a lot of energy! Our corporate sponsor, Rick Diamond received an award for his faithful corporate support at the event. We applaud Brenda’s vision of the walk taking place at many strategic locations over the continent on the same day and time annually in years to come.
Discussions have been informally held regarding planning an official Canadian visit of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 Recipient and President of Liberia, Dr. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Requiring Canadian Government involvement, Mr. Mark Warawa, MP, Langley, and his office have been in communication with Prime Minister Harper’s office on our behalf. Marj has been in communication with the High Commissioner to Ghana, HE Mrs. Trudy Kernigan and networking is expected to get underway soon. Primary objectives include raising foundation awareness across Canada and ultimately to raise financial support for West Africa neuroscience and health care initiatives. It is anticipated that this visit would garner serious national media attention. Simon Fraser University, having featured members of the board in Dialogue events, is eager to partner in such an endeavor and corporate sponsors are being approached in anticipation of several prestigious events, in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Skilled communication at a cutting edge world class level requires professional expertise. Our board recognizes the critical need to capture the incredible story of KBNF as it unfolds. Credibility for our foundation internationally is vital to major donor base and networking developments. KBF is grateful to AHA, KBF PR firm, for their steady hand of leadership in communications and public relations. Ruth Aberley and Paul Holman recognize the critical elements required to progressively and effectively reach the masses. They manage our informative website www.kbnf.org, uploading insightful new material provided by members of our team including blogs, revisions, updates, notices, u-tube video and photos up to 5 days / week.
Analysis of our website productively is measured monthly. In all respects, the website is steadily accessed more frequently and repeatedly, and more pages are read and more donations given through the website than ever before. Principle readership comes from Canada, followed by the USA, Ghana and lastly the UK. We certainly look forward to our readership literally exploding in the year(s) to come.
Our facebook site www.facebook.com/KBNF.org was launched last July. It has a lively welcoming appearance. AHA manages the updates weekly and “likes” are slowly growing monthly. Wikipedia is planned for this spring and twitter is expected to be launched when resources are available.
Considering the economic climate, timing is everything and funding consultant hours is prudently managed. We express appreciation to Christina Chiu for taking on the Executive Assistant consultant role while volunteering many more hours than ever could be reimbursed financially. Taking on computer work with an expertise eluding the board saves us many hours that we can reallocate to other priority foundation work.
Christina handles all of our publication work, finding the most cost efficient publishers and most contemporary methods of disseminating foundation news. Christina manages the constant contact account and designs the newsletters and notices for Marj. Approximately 2,000 readers receive our mail. Response to our news on Patrick Ali, a Sierra Leonean struggling with quadriplegia struck a chord with many of our foundation friends and readers. It is reassuring that the percentage of recipients opening our mail is well beyond the average readership for most organizations.
Our brochure is now available on our website for individuals to copy and print, while an informative postcard is being designed from the brochure layout for cost effective handouts. Publication and mail out of newsletters along with a donation slip and return envelope continues to be a worthwhile fundraising strategy. Donor recognition and certificates are being planned. Personal phone calls to our donors and supporters over the years expressing our appreciation for their support are also another avenue that is considered a priority this year.