Foundation Update Written By Jacob Chavez
Roaring into the Twenties
With the completion of the Sportsman Raffle in February, the IMH Foundation now turns its attention towards their biggest (and grandest) fundraising event of the year – La Grande Fleur.
The Ivinson Memorial Hospital Foundation is well into the planning phase of organizing their annual La Grande Fleur (LGF) fundraiser, which will occur on May 4th, 2019, at the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center in Laramie.
The black-tie event’s primary focus this year will be to raise money for the Foundation’s technology and innovation fund — a fund used to purchase new, cutting-edge equipment for Ivinson. The Foundation has set a goal of securing $200,000 in net revenue, which is on-par with last year’s net earnings of approximately $218,000.
This Year’s Theme
Each year, the event is centered around a unique and exciting theme, which is selected by La Grande Fleur event chairs. In recent years past, event themes have included, “Night on the Hawaiian Shore,” and “Dancing with Diamonds,” an evening celebrating the hospital’s 100-year anniversary.
This year, however, event chairs Steve and Nancy Stutzman have selected the theme of, “Roaring into the 20’s,” an homage to the Roaring Twenties, the era in western history marked by economic growth, the rise of Jazz music and many technological achievements. Art Deco adornments, flapper dresses and zoot suits all promise to transform the University’s Gateway Center into a living time machine.
“People can really get into the roles of the parts,” says Beth Jones, director of the IMH Foundation. “I would say the theme is going to be so fun, and will really create an environment unlike anything the Gateway Center has seen before,” she adds.
Beth has been working closely with her staff, as well as the various committees that help plan La Grande Fleur, to ensure that the night runs as smoothly as possible. This is Beth’s third time helping to organize La Grande Fleur as director, which means she’s prepared to handle any surprises that inevitably crop up during the planning process.
“The premise of every Foundation event is the same, in the sense that it’s all about the people. Creating the best environment for our guests to have the best time, no matter what the event is – we try to make that our first priority,” says Beth.
Funding New Tech at Ivinson
In recent years, the event has placed new emphasis on raising awareness of the needs of the hospital, in addition to raising funds through table sales, silent auction items and paddle-raises. For 2019, the Foundation wants to focus its fundraising efforts on improving technology and innovation at Ivinson.
“That’s one of our five primary funding projects that we’ve committed to for the next six years, until 2025,” adds Beth. “The technology and innovation funds helps contribute to things like the robot, or the elastography software that we just funded for radiology,” says Beth.
Beth goes on to explain that money in the technology and innovation fund is not restricted to purchasing new equipment, but is also available to be used as ‘seed money’ to fund projects and ideas around the hospital. This will allow staff members and providers with new, innovative ideas to submit proposals to request startup money, and get their ideas off the ground.
But of course, like every year, the lead-up to the big night brings with it excitement, challenges and crowded office suites. For several weeks prior to the event, departments from around the hospital begin to deliver their Silent Auction contributions to the Foundation offices, as Foundation staff iron out the final details of the night.
“Every single department in the hospital helps contribute to the silent auction, which the guests love,” Beth added. “It speaks so highly of how involved our hospital is in supporting one another.”
For one Foundation staff member, this will be her first time attending La Grande Fleur.
“I’ve heard so many great things about the event, and I’m just looking forward to seeing it for the first time,” says Katherine Ratigan, coordinator for the IMH Foundation. Katherine has worked for Ivinson since September 2018, and recently transferred from the Extended Care Facility to the Foundation in January of this year.
Katherine brings a fresh perspective and new ideas to her role as the coordinator, and plays a pivotal part in ensuring things go to plan on the night of event. “The scope of the event, how many people attend and how much planning goes behind one night… It’s surprising to me is how much work goes into one thing,” says Katherine.
For those who are interested in purchasing tickets to this year’s La Grande Fleur, both Katherine and Beth suggest acting quickly. Through presale events such as the Employee Giving campaign, many tickets for the event have already been held in reserve.
“Calling is the best way to reserve your spot, and time is of the essence,” says Beth. “And tickets will probably sell out,” adds Katherine.
You can purchase tickets by calling the Foundation at (307) 755‑4520.