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Philanthropy Friday: Pleasure Guild

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The Pleasure Guild’s roots can be traced back to early beginnings of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In 1890, a group of women and girls from the King’s Daughters of St. Paul Episcopal Church regularly got together to sew for the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. It was during these gatherings that they decided Columbus needed a similar hospital. Putting their efforts together, the group raised $125 to start a fund, which established a nine-bed hospital serving the children of Columbus.

From this group of women, Mrs. Erskine B. Fullerton established a “Pleasure Fund” to be used to provide entertainment for the shut-in patients. Under her direction, about 30 boys and girls met each Saturday to make handcrafted items, which were sold to raise money so they could purchase treats, or what was then called “pleasures”, for children in the hospital.

After Mrs. Fullerton’s death, the fund continued as a memorial to her. A number of young women were invited to combine efforts with the boys and girls, and in 1908 Pleasure Guild of Children’s Hospital (now Nationwide Children’s Hospital) was formalized.

This 101-year-old organization is comprised of approximately 45 diverse women who volunteer their time and talents to raise money for the Hospice and Palliative Care program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Helping Columbus’ only Pediatric Program

The Pleasure Guild’s mission is to raise funds for central Ohio’s only pediatric hospice program. Nationwide Children’s Hospice cares for children for whom a cure is beyond reach. Hospice and palliative care refers to a package of services, most often provided in the patient’s home. When a family learns from their health care team that their child has a life expectancy of less than six months, they turn to the staff of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care program to guide them through this incredibly difficult and emotional time. The money that Pleasure Guild raises goes toward paying the uncompensated costs so that families can spend this most important time with their loved ones instead of worrying about how they are going to pay for the hospital bills. Each year, The Pleasure Guild strives to raise $200,000 for the hospital. The women of the Pleasure Guild want to help children and give back to the central Ohio community.

When women join Pleasure Guild, they make a three-year commitment. Some individual responsibilities and goals include:

  • Raising at least $1,200 each year. This pays for three days of hospice care.
  • Volunteering 24 hours at the hospital per year.
    i. Pleasure Guild is the only auxiliary group of Nationwide Children’s Hospital to have direct patient contact through the circulation of their library cart. Through the library cart, they go door-to-door and offer books and magazines to patients and their families.
    ii. Members also volunteer their time by teaching preschoolers about basic safety and injury prevention through the Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE) program.
    iii. Pleasure Guild members also support other hospital auxiliary efforts through volunteering at such events as the Memorial Tournament and the hospital’s annual gala, “Once Upon a Night.”
  • Serving on one committee, (either as part of the annual production or events), attending four activity sessions and monthly general membership meetings.
  • Recruiting at least one member to join the organization.

Pleasure Guild provides exactly the kind of experience you make of it. For some, it’s a second job. For others, it entails only a few hours a month. You have the flexibility to approach it any way you want. They also have several social functions throughout the year to celebrate with one another, such as their holiday dinner and May brunch.

Through the Pleasure Guild you make new friends by working and contributing with women who challenge your thinking and applaud your accomplishments. At the end of your three-year commitment, you are a proud contributor to Nationwide Children’s Hospital who has advanced your own personal competency while having fun doing it. Membership is open to any woman who lives in the central Ohio area. Information and an on-line membership form can be found here.

Big Events to Raise Funds

The Pleasure Guild has two big fundraisers coming up in the next couple of months:

1. The 13th Annual SPAGIO “A Celebration of Wine, Food and Dining with the Stars

February 22nd, at SPAGIO, 1295 Grandview Avenue in Grandview.

The only event of its kind in Ohio, attendees stroll through the restaurant and kitchen tasting award-winning cuisine prepared by world-renowned chefs flown in from all over the world. Guests also sample wine from premier vineyards as they mingle with our celebrity chefs at various food stations. A raffle and silent auction tops off the evening, with all proceeds benefiting the Hospice and Palliative Care Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Dinner tickets are still available for $225 per person. To purchase tickets, or for additional event information, please contact Nicole Dinsmoor at 614.486.1114, ext. 4 or e-mail [email protected].

2. The Music Man

March 12-14, Palace Theatre

The largest fundraiser is an annual family production. This year’s professional production is Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Ticket information and performance times, as well as on-line purchases can be found online via Ticketmaster. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available and can be found online here.

How You Can Give

Due to current economic conditions and cutbacks at several organizations, this year has proven to be extremely challenging for their fundraising efforts. However, the Pleasure Guild remains very optimistic and is thrilled to contribute any money to the hospital.

There are several opportunities for individuals and organizations to contribute to Pleasure Guild, including monetary or in-kind donations. Individuals can make an on-line donation by selecting the Pleasure Guild in the Designation box found here.

Using Social Media

This is the first year The Pleasure Guild has used social media. It is a great way for them to inexpensively promote their fundraisers and activities. It is also a great way to engage with community leaders and raise awareness about their efforts to help Children’s Hospital.

You can follow the Pleasure Guild on Twitter at: @pleasureguild

You can become a Pleasure Guild Facebook Fan HERE.

You can find their blog for The Music Man HERE.
For more information on The Pleasure Guild visit PleasureGuild.org.

For behind the scenes information and photos visit InKindConnection.com

Philanthropy Friday is a feature article by Michele Savoldi that will highlight a Columbus area non-profit organization every other week.

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