News

OneFoundation gearing up for major campaign, name change

By Allan Benner, The Standard

Roger Ali

Roger Ali

Although OneFoundation will soon be a memory, the recently appointed head of the organization that supports Niagara’s hospitals has big plans for the months and years to come.

Since taking the helm of the organization about five months ago, OneFoundation chief executive officer Roger Ali has been working towards some significant changes — including a new name.

OneFoundation “was great at the time, because the six foundations were coming together as one.”

But that was back in January 2014, and the name seems dated now that the individual foundations have successfully amalgamated with a renewed focus on supporting the combined needs of all six facilities. Ali said it now makes sense to change the name to Niagara Health Foundation.

The new name, he added, “is well aligned with the Niagara Health System.”

But the name change won’t become official until a yet-to-be determined date in the fall, because there’s far more involved than just printing new business cards.

“It has to be approved and you have to have your letters patent, you have to have your business name at CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) switched and you have to ensure you have the appropriate paperwork,” Ali said.

Besides that, a re-branding plan needs to be developed to coincide with the name change.

“That’s what we’re working on now. When we press the button we’ll be ready to go,” Ali said.

“It’s pretty exciting. It gives us an opportunity to build a stronger presence in the community. And we will be looking at how can deepen relationships, and build greater awareness about what we do and why we do it on behalf of Niagara Health.”

In the meantime, Ali — who spent the past eight years working as vice-president of development for Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation as part of a 22-year career in philanthropy — plans to draw from his considerable experience to create the campaign for the hospitals redevelopment project that will be happening in south Niagara. Details of that campaign, including the fundraising goal, are still being determined.

Considering opposition to the plans from residents and political leaders of south Niagara communities concerned about the future of Welland hospital, Ali suspects it could make the campaign more of a challenge.

Ali, however, described the inclusion of funding for a new hospital in the 2017 provincial budget as “exciting” and “wonderful,” adding he hopes that “once individuals have had a chance to understand and see what is being proposed, I feel that’s the exciting part.”

“It’s still early days,” he said.

In addition to the big upcoming projects, the foundation is continuing to raise funds for new equipment needed at all six NHS sites, while also developing plans for the capital campaign. It’s a tall order for a small staff of about 15 people. But Ali is looking forward to the work.

“Our goal is to rally the community and to continue to rely on dedicated volunteers. My vision is to build a strong foundation, one that individuals believe in and will support for the betterment of a healthier Niagara.”

Ali, who was also recently appointed as inaugural chairman of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Canada, said he has met with nine of Niagara’s mayors since he’s joined OneFoundation, but in months to come he plans to visit all 12 municipal councils as well to introduce himself and discuss health-care needs throughout the region.

Despite the challenges, Ali is confident the generosity of Niagara residents will come through, especially when it comes to health care.

“Individuals are interested in giving to a cause or project that they believe will make a difference, not only in their lives but in the community,” he said. That’s what I’ve seen, and I would say that giving to health care — and in particular to initiatives within Niagara Health — lends itself nicely to that because the vision is about creating a healthier Niagara.”

More information about supporting the foundation is available by calling the OneFoundation office at 905-323-3863, or online at www.onefoundationforNHS.com.

ABenner@postmedia.com