Unique Fundraising Effort Supports COVID-19 Relief

Every week, team leaders cue up presentations to Virginia Mason staff in our Volney Auditorium. We’ve kept hosting these meetings throughout the pandemic with one unusual change: Instead of a live audience, we’ve filled the auditorium with life-size, cardboard cutouts of Virginia Mason staff and community members.

“We’ve been live-streaming meetings from the auditorium, but the presenters felt weird talking to an empty room,” says Willa McAllister, associate director of events at Virginia Mason. “One of our executive leaders had the idea of placing cutouts in the auditorium so speakers would feel like they were presenting to staff. That sparked an idea for a fundraising campaign.”

In October 2020, the Virginia Mason Foundation launched a campaign where employees could purchase a cardboard cutout with a $100 donation. Dozens of employees showed their support, submitting photos of themselves, family members or even Virginia Mason founders to be turned into life-size cutouts and placed in the auditorium. The cutout is theirs to keep when full in-person operations resume.

Proceeds from the cutouts support system-wide COVID-19 relief efforts and personal relief for staff. These funds help fill the gap created when the hospital had to put many operations on hold at the onset of the pandemic.

“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” Willa says. “Presenters at meetings and town halls love them and employees have been excited to participate. We don’t know when we can all come together again but it’s been a fun way for staff to share their support. And we’ve raised nearly $4,000 so far!” 

Seats and cutouts in Volney Auditorium are still available! Learn more »»

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