Working with Tallinn Children’s Hospital Foundation requires thorough communication between all of the cooperation partners. We have decided to respond to all e-mails because people are the essence that enrich the fund – private persons and companies, the contribution of whom creates our presence and means of purchasing. We have known many of today’s contributors for many years and others even decades.
In 1999, our friendship with Inna and Aadu Randpalu, a married Estonian couple in Canada, began with their visit to the children’s hospital. With Merike Martinson we had a tour of the neonatal, infant and radiology departments – at this time the Foundation collected funds for x-ray equipment. The elderly couple thought about what they saw and heard and, as they had no children of their own, decided it was worth contributing to the children’s hospital. They also made their first contribution of 10,000 dollars (CAD), which was a considerable sum of money for people who had just dropped by.
The Randpalus also spread the word among their community in Canada about what they had seen in Estonia. Many of their acquaintances began to think about donating too – this was contrary to the Randpalu’s fear that they would be thought of as crazy for being so generous. During the Canadian ESTO days, we made a lot of contact with people from the Estonian Relief Committee and the local Estonian newspaper. In 2008, the President of the Republic of Estonia presented Inna and Aadu Randpalu with a state decoration award for their fundraising efforts for Tallinn Children’s Hospital, which had raised over 700,000 euro. We had the pleasure to read that Inna and Aadu Randpalu (unfortunately both have now passed on) were among 97 people who were presented with decorations, and they were awarded 3rd class of the Order of the Estonian Red Cross.
Hans Dalborg, the vice-president of the pan-Baltic Nordea Bank, is the embodiment of a kind banker. Before retiring he looked for a charity organisation to which to contribute a sum of money that had been collected from guests at his retirement party, as well as a little bit more. On his 65th birthday all the children in the hospital received teddy bears. The contribution of this kind and merry banking gentleman was added to the fund for the purchase of a second ambulance for the hospital. When asked why he decided to give away the money that reflected his life’s work, Dalborg said, “If I have had everything that I can expect from life, why can’t I help others?”
We are still being contacted by people who are looking for ways in which to help. We do not have any designated process for determining recipients of contributions; this often has to be worked out between the hospital administration and departments. Some contributors have a clear vision about what they would like to contribute to, others ask about the projects that the fund is contributing to in the current year or enquire about the present needs of the hospital departments.
If we have support and understanding, challenges and projects demanding support can also be resolved. This creates the inspiration and desire to work and help!