AS SEEN IN JULY/AUG 2012 EDITION
Dr. Richard Goldbloom and his wife Ruth have invited me for tea at their home in Halifax, NS. The room is scattered with family heirlooms and photographs. From the décor and the conversation it’s easy to tell that these are two people who genuinely care about others.
“Anybody can fundraise if you believe in what you do and it is in your heart,” Ruth tells me. “If you have a passion for the cause you can go out and raise the money that is needed, as long as you have lots of background information and knowledge of the people you’re approaching.”
Ruth and Richard Goldbloom are the recipients of the highest honour available at the Maritime Philanthropy Awards 2012: The Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard is a pediatrician at the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Hospital in Halifax. He tells the story of how the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University contacted him in Montreal to convince him to move to Halifax. He wanted him to become the first chief of the IWK, which wouldn’t open for three more years. Richard accepted and started work at the existing children’s hospital under less than ideal conditions.
“I used to stay awake at night worrying that there would be a fire and a lot of babies would lose their lives–it was mostly wooden construction inside,” he recalls. “But the new hospital was really exciting!”
Apart from his involvement in the IWK’s beginnings he has also made a wonderful contribution to the hospital by championing the “Read to Me” program. The program provides each new baby born at the IWK with a bag of books. “Babies are never too young to be read to–they’ll still absorb it.” he says.
Ruth is a notable and skilled fundraiser. She has been deeply involved in fundraising for many of the universities in Halifax. She speaks about her first university fundraiser at Mount Saint Vincent University: “I was nervous about that because there was no one at the Mount who had done any fundraising,” she says. “The Sisters of Charity had never had a fundraiser. They were feeling the pinch for the university and their own retired sisters, and so decided to have a campaign. I worked on that for two or three years and we achieved our goals.”
After that she was approached by other universities to help out. Eventually, she became the first woman and non-corporate individual to chair the United Way.
Her most cherished project, however, is her work with Pier 21. “I think it’s because of the impact it has on the history of our country,” she says. “We are a country of immigrants, and it doesn’t matter when you arrived–1600, 1800, or 2012–you came to the same place for the same reasons. You came because of poverty, political oppression, religious persecution, or just wanting to make a better life for your family. Everybody in this land is an immigrant if we go back to our beginnings.”
Philanthropy is an art and Richard and Ruth Goldbloom seem to have it mastered. As they quoted from the Book of Hebrews in the Bible: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Winners of the 2012 Maritime Philanthropy Awards
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group
Alicia Love and Janelle Shillington of Saint John Wine Fair, for the support of the Canadian Red Cross
Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist
Lawtons Drugs, for their support of Brigadoon Children’s Camp Society
Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
Dr. and Mrs. Keith and Rosemary Hamilton for founding and supporting Laing House
Outstanding Special Event
Al MacNeil “Builder of Champions Gala” for support of Cape Breton University
Outstanding Sponsorship Partner
BMO Bank of Montreal for its support of the QEII Foundation’s Bust a Move for Breast Health
Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
Sherry Porter for her support of the QEII Foundation, Pier 21 and Symphony Nova Scotia
Outstanding Professional Fundraiser
Mary Jennings (posthumously) for her support of Valley Regional Hospital
Outstanding Small Business
Wilson’s Shopping Centre for their support of the IWK Hospital
Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
Samantha Miller for over ten years of volunteerism and fundraising efforts, including raising $15,000 for cancer research
Faye LeBlanc for her contributions to the Northwood community. Her efforts were instrumental in Northwood’s participation in the Pride Parade and revitalizing Northwood’s Appetite for Life gala