Sixty years ago, a group of “civic-minded clubwomen” (as they were described in a Vacaville Reporter newspaper article) gathered in Dixon to discuss forming a group of volunteers to support Northern Solano County’s only hospital. At the time it was just a 15-bed facility and seriously overcrowded.
The group formed a guild on Feb. 7, 1957, and began a fundraising effort to help build a larger facility. The collaboration of volunteers represented wives of physicians, judges, and civic and business leaders and their mission then remains today: to provide hospital service, community service and fundraising activities to benefit health care in the area. In the years since, those women and thousands of others’ efforts have raised more than $4 million to support NorthBay Healthcare.
That early group’s first pledge was to collect $75,000 to help build what would become the 32-bed Intercommunity Memorial Hospital, on Pennsylvania Avenue. “It was the hardest work I’ve ever done,” recalled Catherine Zimmerman, one of the guild’s charter members in a Wellspring story published in 2007. “We went door to door in Fairfield, asking for donations to build the hospital.”
They also raised funds through cookie sales, fashion shows, penny wraps, brunches and dances, a theatrical play, sales of gently used goods and even a cookbook.
Today, the NorthBay Guild—and its more than 275 members—continues to be one of the most consistent donors to NorthBay Healthcare Foundation, the fundraising arm of NorthBay Healthcare.
Guild volunteer’s efforts have contributed to every construction project undertaken to expand and then replace what is now NorthBay Medical Center, as well as the construction of NorthBay VacaValley Hospital and, later, its Emergency Department expansion.
Guild funds come from the NorthBay Guild Golf & Tennis Classic, as well as sales from its Secondhand Rose Thriftique and the gift shops in both hospitals. Each year, volunteers vote on how to spend the money, based on wish lists submitted by NorthBay Healthcare departments. They’ve supported countless programs, such as NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement, the A Baby is Coming (ABC) program, the NorthBay Cancer Center, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs, NorthBay Alzheimer’s Resource Center and Adult Day Center and, for the past six years, NorthBay’s Trauma program.
In addition to fundraising, Guild members serve in the hospitals as way finders and errand runners, and goodwill ambassadors to patients, family members and visitors.
“It has been and continues to be my honor and privilege to be part of the 60-year history of the Guild, their contributions, their hours of service and their financial commitment to the success of our organization,” said Jane Hilliard, director of Volunteer Services. “Today’s volunteers not only represent a group of truly caring individuals, but a legacy of volunteers who have given hundreds of thousands of hours and millions of dollars to support the mission of NorthBay Healthcare.”
7 Local women form a guild; a charter is later signed.
Guild pledges $75,000 to help build 32-bed Intercommunity Memorial Hospital in Fairfield.
Guild donates $22,664 to install air conditioning in the hospital.
Guild helps open the “Annex,” which brought Intercommunity Hospital’s bed count to 80.
Guild pledges $15,000 to pay off the hospital’s mortgage.
Guild pledges $200,000 for a new hospital which opened in 1976, along with the Guild’s first gift shop.
The first Golf & Tennis Classic is held at Green Valley Country Club.
Guild donates $20,000 for a neurosurgery program and pledges $400,000 for construction of NorthBay VacaValley Hospital and expansion in Fairfield.
Solano Wine & Food Jubilee is organized to support newly established NorthBay Hospice & Bereavement.
Guild pledges $200,000 to the NorthBay Medical Center’s capital campaign.
NorthBay Alzheimer’s Resource Center opens and is staffed by trained Guild members.
NorthBay Medical Center’s new emergency department opens, thanks in part to funds from the Guild’s Golf & Tennis Classic.
Guild donations help open the Emergency Department at VacaValley Hospital and purchase simulation center equipment.
Guild’s Golf & Tennis Classic committee pledges a five-year commitment to support NorthBay Trauma programs, accruing more than $260,000.
NorthBay Guild Thrift Shop moves and blooms into Second-hand Rose Thriftique.
Guild opens new gift shop in the Welcome Pavilion at NorthBay Medical Center.