Peace Arch Hospital lottery at risk of losing money
The Peace Arch Hospital Foundation's WinFall Lottery is in danger of losing a significant amount of money if it can't boost ticket sales by Wednesday night.
"We still have a long way to go. We need a minor miracle to get these tickets sold," said foundation executive director Jackie Smith.
The lottery has sold about 40 per cent of its 223,000 tickets, said Smith, and the foundation needs to double that just to break even.
When asked if the foundation could lose money, Smith said, "That is a possibility."
The foundation is committed to handing out a top prize of a new home or $1.7 million regardless of how many tickets are sold.
Smith won't say how much money the foundation stands to lose, but says it will reveal everything to donors once ticket sales are complete — including how the foundation would pay for any shortfall.
"Our foundation, in our entire history, has been able to say to our donors and our community that 100 per cent of donations we receive go to their intended purpose," she said. "We are confident we will be able to continue to make that statement."
Over the past 15 years, the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation has raised $25 million through its lottery, raising money for a refurbished maternity ward and an MRI machine.
The WinFall lottery is the second hospital lottery to fall on hard times. Earlier this year, the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation lost $3 million on its lottery.
Professional fundraisers believe people who may have bought tickets to several lotteries are pulling back because the economy is uncertain and competition is fierce.
"I think the charity marketplace has become more competitive," said professional fundraiser Lynn Boardman. "I think there can even some confusion in some donor's minds. They're withdrawing a little bit from the donations."
Six lower mainland hospitals raise money through home lotteries, all of which used to be hugely successful. Now, the only two success stories are the Vancouver General Hospital and B.C. Children's Hospital lotteries.
New Democrat social development and housing critic Shane Simpson said hospitals have become too dependent on charity.
"I think that is one of the problems with where these lotteries have landed, that they are in fact starting to pay for things that you would call more regular services and activities of our medical institutions," he said. "That's a big problem."
With files from the CBC's Theresa Lalonde