Interview: Dave Welbourn, Senior Development Officer
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Dave Welbourn and I’m a Senior Development Officer. I joined Humber River Hospital Foundation in May of 2015 — It was a very exciting time as everyone was eagerly anticipating the opening of our new Hospital later that year.
In one sentence, how would you explain your job to a friend?
My primary role is to connect people in our community with the mission of our Hospital. Raising money is a byproduct of that work.
Is there a Program of Care you have a personal connection to?
Pretty much all of them! My focus from a fundraising perspective is Surgery and Mental Health, but on a personal level, I have a strong connection to Mental Health. My sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was a teenager and her journey has been difficult at times. I also have family members and friends who have struggled with addiction. I think working with the Mental Health team here at Humber has given me a renewed appreciation for just how lucky I am.
Growing up, my sister was always surrounded by a loving family who supported her and helped her. After getting to know the Mental Health team here at Humber and some of the patients, I’ve realized that not everyone has that kind of support. And that’s where we can really see and appreciate the impact that donors can have. When donors fund new clinics, medical technology and support programs for mental health patients who don’t have a lot of support, it can make all the difference.
What’s your favourite thing to show donors when they tour Humber River Hospital?
I would show them the entire Hospital if I could! Unfortunately it’s 1.8 million square feet and it would probably take half a week to see it all. One of my favourite spaces is the Portals of Care on the south side of the Hospital. It’s designed like an airport so patients can come in for day appointments without needing a treasure map to find their clinic. The space has very high ceilings, fresh air and lots of natural light. I hear it all the time from patients – when they walk into the Portals of Care, they feel a sense of calm that they haven’t felt at any other hospital.
What technology excites you most at Humber?
I think the Automated Guided Vehicles are pretty cool! It’s so fun to see people react when you show them the AGVs in action. It’s a great mix of joy and excitement.
Do you have a favourite project?
I worked with two of our donors last year – Paul Golini and Enza Tiberi-Checchia – on a “friend raising” event in support of our Child & Adolescent Mental Health Program. It was a fantastic event with great keynote speakers. Our guests of honour were Abby and Lucy Willer, who very graciously agreed to share their story with our guests that evening. Their courage and perseverance as a family inspired everyone. They are truly amazing people. Seriously, I have the best job in the world because I get to meet people like Abby and Lucy.
What is one awesome thing you’ve done in the last year?
I SAW A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE!! My wife and I took a road trip in August to Herculaneum, Missouri to see the eclipse. It was life changing. I’ve never seen anything like it. I would encourage everyone, at least once in their lives, to find and experience a total solar eclipse. The next one to cross North America is April 8, 2024 – and it’s actually coming through part of Southern Ontario! Mark it in your calendar.
What inspires you?
In my personal life – definitely my wife and family. Professionally – definitely the physicians and staff in our Hospital. There are so many amazing, compassionate people who support our patients every day. Last year, somewhat serendipitously, my wife and I bought our first home just a few blocks south of the Hospital. It feels so good knowing that Humber is here for me and my family when we need it.