The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne has been caring for our sickest and most vulnerable children for almost 150 years. As the designated State wide paediatric trauma centre and a Nationally Funded Centre for heart and liver transplant, the RCH cares for patients from across Australia and overseas.
The hospital’s expertise covers a number of areas including Neurology, Oncology, Cardiology and Mental Health, and in the 2016/17 financial year, 85,991 children received urgent care in the Emergency Department alone.
The RCH Foundation is the fundraising arm of the hospital, raising managing and distributing funds so the hospital can continue its vital work. Initiatives funded by the RCH Foundation include ground breaking research, innovative equipment, the brightest medical minds and the great care that patients and their families rely on.
Surgeon Associate Professor Sebastian King, Gatehouse Manager Karen Hogan, RCH Foundation CEO Sue Hunt, Therapy Dog Ruby, Art Therapist Michelle Atlas
The impact of workplace giving
We spoke to the RCH Foundation’s Corporate Engagement Manager, Giovina Cicchitti, to find out how business giving impacts the RCH Foundation and how it improves the lives of little ones.
“Philanthropy is changing the future of children’s health, and through medical innovations we can give our sickest and most vulnerable children the best chance to enjoy a bright future,” Giovina explains.
The RCH Foundation anticipates to receive around $1.3 million in donations through corporate partnerships and business giving in the 2017/18 financial year. Workplace giving plays a big part in that and, during the last financial year, the RCH Foundation raised $160,333, through workplace giving donations. The areas the RCH Foundation nominates for workplace giving support are crucial but rely on donations so that they can continue to provide the best care to sick children.
RCH patient Edie was born with Gastroschisis, a life threatening condition where her intestines were on the outside of her body, and needs ongoing care at the hospital
“Workplace Giving is a wonderful and accessible way for employers and their employees to support little known yet ground breaking areas of the hospital, which either heavily or entirely rely on philanthropy to operate” says Giovina.
Surgeon Associate Professor Sebastian King and embryologist Dr. Don Newgreen received some of the latest workplace giving funds to test new treatments for children with Hirschsprung’s Disease. Around one in 5,000 babies are born with this rare condition, which affects the large intestine and can be life threatening. The current treatment involves surgery, but their latest research has shown promising results that may remove the need for surgery altogether.
“It’s cutting edge work that is only possible through philanthropy” says Giovina.
The second area to receive funds through workplace giving was the Gatehouse Centre – one of 14 centres working to combat sexual assault in Victoria. They provide a range of imperative crisis care services to children and young people who have been sexually abused, and offer counselling to children who have suffered extreme forms of physical or emotional abuse. As well as supporting victims, the centre works to prevent sexual assault in the long term by providing services to children and young people who have displayed sexually abusive behaviour themselves.
One of the Gatehouse Centre specialists is Art Therapist, Michelle Atlas. Together with her dog Ruby, Michelle provides therapy to children and families to help them process the traumas they’ve suffered. Having a pet therapy animal in sessions has a calming influence and provides a sense of comfort, as well as a friendly face to confide in.
Michelle, Gatehouse Centre Art Therapist and her therapy dog, Ruby
Crucial corporate funding
Corporate funding makes many vital RCH initiatives possible. With businesses hoping to make a significant impact on the community, supporting the RCH provides a wonderful way of giving back. Many are passionate about supporting research which can solve today’s medical challenges and help the hospital be better prepared for tomorrow’s.
“We believe Good2Give is the most user-friendly of the workplace giving platforms, providing our donors with an easy-to-use and secure way to donate, manage and track their donation history,” says Giovina. “It also gives us the opportunity to communicate directly and regularly with our donors, and share the impact their support has for sick children and their families.”