Ronald Mc Donald House Charities Curaçao Foundation is grateful for the variety of people that during its existence have volunteered their expertise in a diverse number of ways. Get to know what drives the people that are NEW at RMHC:
New people bring about fresh ideas. And fresh ideas are needed to keep donors and sponsors connected. This is especially important for a foundation which existence depends on the good will and donations of others. With that in mind RMHC reached out to Anouk Westmaas when the position of treasurer was going to become vacant. “I had heard about RMHC and had actually planned to volunteer there after my kids moved out. However, the former treasurer of RMHC reached out to me with another proposition: to become the RMHC treasurer. Financial work and administration is what I do daily, and as this is where they needed me….I became a board member with the treasurer role that runs the foundation’s administration”, Anouk recalls.
It’s been three years already since she took on the role and she certainly had a part in practical enhancements of the administrative system by optimizing digitalization of administration and payment systems. Anouk’s core values for the work she does are transparency, efficiency and strict management of the administration and budget. “You have to be that way. There are so many foundations in our country, however, what sets us apart is that we are very consistent. We stick to our yearly budget and our agreements. We have a renown accountancy firm that controls our annual financial figures and audits us. And in addition, we send out a yearly annual financial report to the Ronald McDonald Headquarters. The sponsors and donors not only see our passion for the families, but they also see how we do things correctly. It helps that we are also continuously connected with our sponsors. “Our Executive Director Claudia Rigaud is incredible at this, as she is our hands-on communicator, be it face to face, via zoom, e-mails and more”, Anouk explains with a smile.
The board consists of 9 people that split their time between board work and work in various committees, among others the fundraising and development team. When it comes to organizing events to generate funds for the foundation, Anouk underlines that creativity is key! Rather than continuously doing the same, the team consisting of some pretty creative minds gather around to brainstorm for fresh ideas when it comes to attracting donors. “We like to excite our donors with interesting events that spark their interest. Our fundraising committee comes together to discuss various ideas and, jointly, we decide on what would be effective or exciting. Battle of the Brains, a fun quiz night, was one of those fresh new events that was extremely successful.” And then she puts her foot into making it as cost effective as possible. “This means among others reaching out to vendors for special deals. We’ve been so blessed with companies donating their services and locations for our events, such as hotels offering their facilities for free or offering a collaboration through which we can come in contact with possible donors”, Anouk explains. An example is the Baoase Crab-Race that was held in te beginning of 2021 at this luxury hotel with stay-over tourists. At the end of the race we collected a nice amount, but then suddenly one tourist decided he wanted to double the amount and another wanted to double that amount. “I believe it’s because they see how passionate we are when they meet our team in person. All the volunteers that are involved put their complete hearts into maintaining the Ronald McDonald Family Room for the families, it pours out in how we interact. Our passion and commitment does not go unnoticed. Which makes it heartwarming and special when donors wish to help out even more.”
These past 3 years have also been years of many new developments, changes and unforeseen circumstances. RMHC moved to a new facility. And then there was the pandemic. It became difficult to organize events, as you have to adhere to the safety regulations. In addition, they had to be even more careful with the expenses, when it came to organizing initiatives. The fundraising team went back to the drawing board and someone came up with the idea to produce RMHC face masks. “You have no other option than becoming even more creative. It was such a HIT! Everyone wanted to buy them. Large companies would order boxes full. We were able to sell thousands of these face masks. To this day there are still companies ordering our RMHC face masks in order to support the foundation.”
Being the treasurer of Ronald McDonald House Charities Curaçao Foundation has changed Anouk’s live. She explains that part of her work is allocating funds for children that need to travel in order to receive medical care. “This has touched me so much. People have no idea how many kids become severely ill in our country. It made me appreciate my own children even more. You think that it’s all just normal, but I realized it’s not. This has been such a lesson. And although the circumstances are sad, the RMHC consists of such positive people that truly want to help the families, and that’s the vibe that make the families feel at ease and comforted. We’ve got such a great team of volunteers. We all just want the children to feel ok again.”
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