The idea frankly comes from the brokerage industry, but with a unique twist. Each year, several Canadian brokerage firms donate the trading revenues generated by their institutional equity desks (but not the investment banking or broker wrap fees, for example) for a specific day. Invariably, this means that every mutual fund and pension fund trader sends the lion’s share of their daily trades to that one investment dealer on that specific day. It is a neat idea, but for some reason it hasn’t caught on in other sectors of the financial services industry.
Starting today, we are trying to change that. But since we aren’t in the trading business, what can we do that would be beneficial AND meaningful to the charitable sector? Why not pledge to donate an amount equal to one day’s revenue? And not just the trading revenue (we aren’t traders in any event), but every dollar generated by our corporate loan portfolio and the fees we earn from the general partnership.
To put this in perspective, donating one day of our revenue equals five times the donation budgets of certain large Canadian financial institutions, for example. While the absolute dollar figure works out to be below six digits, the metric tells a neat story.
To get some leverage out of this plan, since we can’t cut $8 million of cheques ourselves, we are also kicking off a fundraising effort for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (“NICU”) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, currently located at Women’s College Hospital. By 2009, the NICU and delivery suite will be located on the Sunnybrook campus.
Sunnybrook has one of Ontario’s five Level 3 NICUs, and draws patients from all reaches of Ontario; if your newborn is in serious trouble in the GTA, Thunder Bay or Collingwood, for example, this is a likely destination. Working in what appears to be about 3,500 square feet, 20 dedicated health care professionals care for 35 newborns at any given time. The babies have about 35 square feet to themselves, and their healthcare professionals operate – for years – in a space that reminds me of a hallway in a submarine. All this will change in 2009, when this team moves up to the Sunnybrook campus. In the meantime, though, they have a special and specific need.
Some of the machines in the NICU are state of the art, and others merely fill the bill. As someone who helps finance technology companies I was delighted to see technology put to use, as frightening as it is to have millisecond updates of your child’s blood saturation or CO2 levels. Particularly when they are going the wrong way.
There is one older machine that needs immediate replacement, and while it’ll never benefit those of us who have been through the Women’s College Hospital delivery unit for the last time, our team wants to see that the future children of our friends, neighbours, colleagues and clients are not lacking. They deserve better, and the staff at the NICU deserve the best tools available to handle one of the most stressful jobs imaginable.
You usually never know that your child will be a patient of the NICU until the moment he/she is actually admitted. And when you need that very machine for your baby in the next 10 minutes, it’s a little too late then to try to trade your car in to buy one at 11:00 p.m. on a Tuesday evening.
Several of our team members have had their children born at WCH, and we were all lucky, as everything that was needed to treat our newborns was at hand. The machine in question wasn’t relevant to us, but the next baby may not be so lucky.
NICU Staff Neonatologist Dr. Shaheen Doctor (BSc, MD, FRCPC) tells me that one of the key benefits of this General Electric Vivid i Cardiovascular Ultrasound System is that it’ll enhance the ability for pediatric cardiac specialists at The Hospital for Sick Children to give immediate remote feedback when needed, something that isn’t possible with the current system; who among us wants to wait two or three days if something could be done in just a few hours?
Thus the idea: lead the charge to acquire one for them. $175,000 is alot of money for some hardware, but then it really isn’t.
We’ll keep you posted on how we do with this campaign. All help will be gratefully received.