Shortly after moving to the Orillia area in 2016, David and Beth Shaw met Lisa Stanley at a meeting of the local Chamber of Commerce. As the Director of Finance and Operations at the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (Soldiers’) Foundation, Lisa was eager to meet a potential new donor for the hospital. Beth and David, owners of The Northern Joinery, saw the hospital as a great way to help a good cause and make an investment in the local marketplace. For both, their meeting marked the start of what would become a deeply personal and impactful relationship as effective at raising spirits as it is at raising much needed funds.
Community hospitals shoulder a significant financial burden when it comes to purchasing medical equipment. Equipment like CT scanners and MRI machines are expensive. Incredibly useful, but very expensive. Whenever possible, David and Beth donate a piece of custom Northern Joinery functional art for the Foundation to use to help raise funds.
In fact, four of the most recent Soldiers’ Foundation Galas have auctioned off a custom live-edge and resin dining table worth at least $10,000. Similarly, Soldiers’ golf tournaments have auctioned off Northern Joinery products like coffee tables and end table sets. Moreover, attendance at the annual charity golf tournament has been boosted by what Lisa refers to as “the mind-blowing golf giveaway” souvenir for 150 golfers.
During COVID-19 when it wasn’t possible to hold the gala in person, The Northern Joinery pitched in to help generate support and extend a feeling of community to the many supporters at home. They partnered with their friends at the Eclectic Cafe to create 150 charcuterie boards which the hospital distributed to VIP package holders. According to Lisa Stanley, “It really elevated support and we were able to secure a lot more donations. The beautifully crafted charcuterie boards were a big hit with our VIP guests”.
Pitching in seems to be a standard response for Beth and David. During the spring of 2020 when the town was in the middle of the original COVID-19 shutdown, people were anxious, isolated, and fearful. David and Beth responded by gathering a group of friends and local artists together to start a live music broadcast from The Northern Joinery’s retail location, the Makers Market. Known as the “Essential Concert Series“, the weekly musical performance, often hosted by Soldiers’ Foundation team members, gave folks watching online an opportunity to be with others, listen to music, and express their thanks to frontline workers.
Over a period of about 20 very challenging weeks, a growing audience helped raise funds for the hospital and, more specifically, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for hospital staff. People tagging frontline workers became eligible for prizes, as were the frontline workers they mentioned. It was a welcome distraction and helpful boost during a very difficult time.
David and Beth’s efforts at lifting morale at the hospital didn’t stop at the Essential Concert Series. They continued to do what they could during the pandemic including the renovation of the hospital cafeteria. The space was transformed through the construction of all new serving stations, a live edge eating bar and more than 25 custom tables. Ever committed to the hospital, David and Beth made sure that The Northern Joinery absorbed a significant portion of the cost of the project.
According to Lisa, “Dave took a sterile, academic hospital cafeteria and turned it into a cozy warm place where staff like to hang out. Now the cafeteria is better used and our staff like to spend time there”.
If you ask them why they are so committed to the hospital foundation, David will say “We do it because we can. We have a great relationship with the hospital and we see how hard they all work at Soldiers’. At some point we are ALL going to need the local hospital, so helping just makes sense”.
This altruistic attitude is sincerely appreciated by Lisa, the staff at the hospital, and the thousands of patients the hospital serves each year. While it’s not the only charity or not-for-profit that Beth and David support, the bond they have built with the hospital and the Soldiers’ Foundation is undeniable. They have worked hard to give back to their local community and they have done so in uniquely creative ways.
Click HERE to donate to the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation.