The Huntsville Business
Community Keeps On Caring!
Huntsville Hospital Foundation
Business Cares Initiative | 2024 Recognition Report
Since January 2016, the Huntsville Hospital Foundation Business Cares initiative has raised over $2 million to help our hospital acquire advanced technology and equipment. Thanks to the caring business leaders of our incredible town and the communities around it, the initiative continues to grow, and more business leaders continue to step up in support of our hospital.
The Link Between Business Cares And Karma
While the outcomes of participating in the Business Cares program are very clear, it is the unforeseen impact that I feel is most compelling. It is the golden rule of business ownership – what goes around comes around. Positive karma seems to abound in and around Huntsville.
When my wife and I first moved here in 1990, started Greystone Construction and raised four children locally, Huntsville was just starting its growth spurt. What a difference in 2023. Greystone now has over 50 employees and we work with hundreds of other tradespeople and contractors. Huntsville is bursting with entrepreneurial opportunity, and having an amazing local hospital is a huge reason why. When people decide to move here or start businesses here, access to healthcare is almost always the very first thing on their mind.
This new growth increases opportunities for every business owner. But it also comes with new pressure: Costs are increasing, and access to people is more of a challenge. Operating a business seems harder now, and it’s about more than increased interest rates on borrowing. We face a new reality now.
And part of that new reality is that our support for our local hospital is more important than ever. Our hospital and our community growth are connected.
Business cares puts business owners at the forefront of what’s most important to the community. More established business owners see a new hospital as an opportunity to give back. Younger, new business owners see it as an investment in their future growth and stability.
As the economic engines of our community, Business Cares members demonstrate a unanimous front to other business leaders and elected officials alike.
And all of this comes around. I’ve experienced it many times. My customers appreciate that we belong to Business Cares. They thank us with their continued business. Karma happens.
We’re in the early stages of planning a new hospital right here. Our local hospital foundation has committed to raising $35 million over the next ten years. Our contribution will be about 10% of that total number.
There are currently 52 Business Cares members in and around Huntsville. Imagine what we could do with 100 members, all contributing annually, predictably, sustainably. That’s a lot of support going around – and a lot coming back to every member thanks to the unwavering and amazing generosity of this community. There’s no other place like it.
Thanks to every Business Cares member for sticking with it. Thanks to every new participant, today and tomorrow. Thanks to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation team for their hard work and support. And thanks to you Huntsville – for all the karma that comes our way every day.
Caring By The Numbers
local businesses to date
renewed partners since 2020
total amount raised to date
total amount pledged
Laparoscopic Trays for Operating Room
Obstetrics Transport Incubator
Emergency dept. Blanket Warmer
Crash Carts for Obstetrics
A Business Community That Cares
Huntsville is a unique community with a growing and diversifying population that expands in the summer months. It’s our business owners and leaders who are uniquely able to connect with everyone. In doing so, they know the importance of a great local hospital – we all depend on it. And we all owe thanks to the business community who continually step up to support it through Business Cares.
We’d love you to meet some of them. Here are brief stories from four representatives of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation business class of 2023:
For the Next Generation
When you’re in the scrap metal and steel business, safety matters. So does access to good hospital care. Just ask Bev Swan and Kevin Primmer. For 35 years, they’ve owned and operated All Ontario Recycling, starting out with just a single crane truck and trailer. Now they service regions all over the province and employ nearly 100 people, thanks to key managers and great staff at 3 locations in Port Sydney, Barrie and Collingwood.
“Prior to us, there was nobody here buying steel. We brought new employment to the area. And grew and expanded,” says purchasing manager Steve Best. “That’s pretty incredible, that’s a growth story right there. And Business Cares allows us to give back.”
As they’ve grown and expanded over 35 years, so has Huntsville.“Change is happening all the time. In a good way. But we can’t stay status quo. We need to be able to support the growth with a good hospital,” Kevin says.
“New young families are coming to the area, just like we did 35 years ago. We should all try to contribute what we can to keep our hospital up to date,” says Bev.
Kevin and Bev say everyone in their family has needed some type of care at the hospital over the years, and having it close has been essential. In fact, they probably wouldn’t have started their family and business in the area decades ago if the hospital wasn’t here.
“We are truly grateful for all the support that Muskoka has given us, be it business or personal,” Bev says.
Giving from the dock…
If you’re a local, you probably know Sue Burke. In fact, you’ve probably waved to her from the pub or the swing bridge on Main Street – her office sits right below, overlooking the water. For over 30 years Sue of Team Burke Real Estate has been helping clients make Huntsville and the surrounding areas home. Along her business journey – from getting started in real estate like her father who did the same before her, to now working alongside her own daughter Britt – Huntsville Hospital has been there.
“When I had my babies. When my mom was dying. Nine years ago when I had breast cancer. When my kids broke an arm or anything happened, the hospital was amazing. When you need it, it’s there. And if you can give back, if you have the means, I think you should.”
As Business Cares members and real estate professionals so deeply connected to Huntsville, Sue and Britt know first hand how important good healthcare is to a growing and thriving community.
“We’re seeing so many people move here for jobs or just to get back to nature, and we’re seeing lots of positive, exciting change,” says Britt.
“And the bigger you get, the better the healthcare needs to be to serve the growing population, so support and investment is critical. Without good healthcare, you do not have a healthy community,” says Sue. “And from a real estate perspective, if we didn’t have the hospital, our prices would be flatter. It adds value. It’s a selling feature for sure.”
As Team Burke watches Huntsville change (often from the office dock) with excitement, their commitment to the hospital and Business Cares remains. “We’re not a multi-million dollar corporation. When we give, it’s from our pockets. But we think it’s important.”
Business Cares 2.0
Andrew Buwalda, General Manager at Deerhurst Resort, interacts with every type of person who lives and plays in Huntsville. From the resort guests, to his year round workforce, to newcomers investing in Freed Development real estate, to local friends and family he’s known since he was young, Andrew says they all have one thing in common: at one point or another, they need our local hospital.
So from a Business Cares perspective, Andrew says joining, and supporting the hospital made perfect sense. “There are lots of great and worthwhile organizations out there and frankly it can be really difficult to decide which one cause is worth your investment more than another. But I will say that for any local business owner or operator – their customers use the hospital, their staff use the hospital, they use the hospital. It’s one of the few things you could probably select to support that’s going to check a box with virtually everybody you interact with in the course of doing business. And that’s pretty neat.”
Andrew has watched Huntsville grow and change, through the lens of business leader, local and father. “Huntsville seems to be growing very quickly. And I think we’ll continue to see more and more people choosing to relocate to Muskoka and specifically to Huntsville. We need to be able to keep up with that. So investing in our hospital just becomes even more important.”
“We have to continue to make really big bold investments now, so that eight, ten years from now, projects actually come to fruition. We have to keep up with the change.”
Together as a business community, he says, it’s possible. “Your money goes a long way because there’s power in the collective group of businesses that have decided to participate in Business Cares. The aggregate total is incredibly impactful.”
“We know that there’s a significant capital requirement coming up over the next eight plus years and it will require a lot of different avenues of raising that money. The business community will need to continue to come together in meaningful, directed and concerted ways and we will be part of that. Maybe it’s Business Cares 2.0.”
Groh-ing Business and Giving Back
It would be easy to mix up Groh brothers Trevor and Steven of Groh Construction Inc. They look, sound and walk alike. They both have two young kids. They drive matching trucks. But don’t ask one to do the other’s job. That’s where they’re different – and how they’ve so successfully built their business and reputation as custom home builders in Huntsville and Muskoka region.
They always knew they’d go into business together and knew early on that finding ways to give back would be built into the core of their company. The hospital was a natural fit; Trevor’s wife is an ICU nurse at Huntsville Hospital and Steven’s wife is a nurse practitioner in the community.
Beyond the family connection, the hospital helps them overcome one of their biggest business challenges – recruiting new people for their growing team.
“If the hospital wasn’t here, it would be much harder to attract good, reliable people to live and work here,” says Trevor. “It’s hard to imagine if it wasn’t here. I’d be nervous. If something happened, especially in wintertime, and the nearest hospital is an hour and a half away, it could be very much life or death.”
The Groh team donated their time and labour to build an addition on the Huntsville Hospital Foundation building. The electrician and HVAC professionals on the project also became Business Cares members in the process.
“It feels good to give back,” says Steven. “And every time we drive by it, we can tell our kids we did that. But hopefully not too often!”
A Message From The Foundation
You each have a story like our profiled Business Cares members above, and while you’re on different business journeys, you’ve all arrived at a destination of continued commitment to our hospital and the wellness of everyone in and around Huntsville. That’s an amazing thing.
The foundation has committed to raising $35 million over the next ten years to support new hospital plans. Your contribution will have an enormous impact and we’re grateful we can continue to count on you. Like Pat said, we know positive business karma will come back to you as a result.
Thank you – from everyone at Huntsville Hospital, from the Foundation and from everyone who lives, works and plays here. You are, indeed, leaders of this entire community.
Katherine Craine Chief
Huntsville Hospital Foundation
Direct: 705-789-2311, ext. 2492