Red Deer Regional Health Foundation CEO Manon Therriault has been named one of the 40 under 40 by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. File photo

Central Alberta woman receives North American award for leading Red Deer Regional Health Foundation

The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s chief executive officer has always embraced change.

Manon Therriault welcomed the move when she got the top job at the foundation and came to Alberta in the summer of 2017 from Ontario.

Now, after three years at the job, she has won an award.

Therriault is a recipient of the 40 under 40 award from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

The program is designed to recognize future leaders within the health-care development community in North America.

“It’s still shocking for me,” Therriault said of the award.

“When you look at the list of people who are on there, you kind of don’t feel like you measure up,” she said with a chuckle.

Since joining the foundation, during tough economic times in Alberta, Therriault has been able to increase the donor retention rate by about 33 per cent by maintaining strong relationships.

Once in Red Deer, Therriault realized the health foundation is an events-based organization, and she had to branch out and introduce other forms of fundraising.

She has introduced a robust annual giving program and major gifts initiative, which includes one time and monthly giving, additional signature events and a grateful patient program.

“We’re amping up our monthly giving program and we do direct mail soliciting donations, and our online base has expanded as well,” the 32-year-old said.

The Red Deer mom also lowered the annual cost per dollar raised by 10 per cent in one year by closely monitoring expenses and adjusting to the economic times.

What she likes about the fundraising industry is that it’s always evolving.

“One minute, you’re swimming in success. The next minute, you’re hit by the pandemic. So the purpose of the award is people who are most dynamic in a fundraising industry and can adapt,” said Therriault.

“Every relationship you have with a donor is different. Every time you come into work, there’s a new happening that’s going to occur.”

Therriault leads a team of seven, and under her leadership, the group raised more than $8 million in 2018-19. These funds supported a range of needs at the hospital, including more than $700,000 in funding for cardiac, ER and ICU equipment.

In April, the foundation’s annual Christmas fundraiser, Festival of Trees, was selected as a finalist in the 2020 Canadian Event Industry Awards for the best event produced by a community-based non-profit.

The festival has been a mainstay in central Alberta, raising more than $16 million in the past 26 years for programs, services and equipment at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

More than 2,000 volunteers participate in the initiative each year.

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