New RRH foundation director outlines goals

Tickets for Roaring Twenties-themed wine gala fundraiser now available

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

New RRH foundation director outlines goalsKim Metcalf and Breanne Chromi give a taste of the upscale theme guests will enjoy at the upcoming wine gala — Photo by Laura Austin

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By REBECCA NEIPP, News Review Staff Writer

With a swanky fundraiser on the horizon, and new leadership at the helm, the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Development Foundation is poised to achieve its goal of facilitating excellence in healthcare delivery to those living in the Indian Wells Valley.

While an ongoing goal of the foundation is to partner with the community to support the hospital’s mission, last year the board of directors set a goal to raise $300,000 for a Hospice House. According to recently appointed Executive Director Kim Metcalf, the foundation is about halfway toward that goal.

She expects a significant boost from the annual “Evening Under the Stars … Making Dreams Come True” — the organization’s signature event coming up on Saturday, Sept. 15.

In its second year, the adventurous evening begins with guests meeting up and boarding a bus to a top-secret location. This year’s venue will be in line with the Gatsby-inspired theme — featuring exquisite cuisine and authentic music from the Jazz Era.

Metcalf coordinated last year’s inaugural event as a fund-raiser. She noted that the guests helped raise about $22,000 for the foundation.

“It was a great event — I think everyone had a lot of fun,” she said.

“We are going to keep it a small group this year, because we want to keep the intimate feel of the event. And this experience will not be like anything else you’ve done in Ridgecrest.”

In addition to the ticket sales, the event is further supported by a live wine auction, as well as a silent auction.

“The goal for the Hospice House was set before I came on board, but I feel like it’s very reasonable and achievable. I think we are aiming for completing it by the middle of next summer.”

RRH CEO Jim Suver said that the foundation’s gala is a driving force behind plans to bring a hospice home to the valley.

“At RRH, we pride ourselves in the confidence that we offer you the same expert care and consideration as we would our own family members,” he said. “This is especially true when it comes to providing heartfelt and quality care to those in our community living with, and impacted by, life-limiting illness.”

He thanked community members for their generosity and commended the foundation for tremendous support in hosting the gala.

In addition to the ambitious, project-based goals of the foundation, money raised each year is also reinvested in equipment and staff support for the hospital.

“Because the hospital is such an incredible community asset, one of my goals is to improve outreach,” said Metcalf.

The vast majority of the monthly donations to the foundation are contributed by staff members at RRH. “I think it’s amazing that we have so many employees who believe in the hospital, but we all benefit from having high-quality health care. I would love to see more support from the greater community.”

Metcalf said that toward that end, she has established a subcommittee of the foundation, headed up by Emergency Department Director Breanne Chromi, who will help promote awareness in the community regarding the contributions of the foundation.

“I also told the board that improving our transparency as a foundation will generate more support,” she said.

“I firmly believe that touching individuals in little ways will blossom into huge rewards. Whether or not people decide to give or donate, if they are positively impacted, they can help spread the mission by word of mouth — which still helps the foundation.”

Metcalf has deep roots in the community — and to the hospital itself. She was born in the hospital when it was contained within the tiny annex now at the heart of the campus. She and her husband, Mike, have worked here, raised their children and given back to the community for decades.

Metcalf’s experience includes success as an entrepreneur, an event planner and the director of community service projects for the China Lake Rotary Club. She said that her passion for the job comes from her desire to give back to the community.

“I am very grateful for what I have received from this community — the sense of family, the safe place to raise children,” she said.

“I also believe that when you are asking people for money, you have to be able to fulfill the reverse side of that coin as well.

“You need to have empathy for the hospital and a servant heart for this community.”

Metcalf still has tickets available for the wine gala. Anyone interested in purchasing tickets — or making a donation to the foundation — should call her at 760-499-3955.

Story First Published: 2018-08-31