Research the winner in lottery

07/05/2009 - 00:00

THE Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation has found a recession-proof way to raise funds in an increasingly difficult economic environment - lottery.

Research the winner in lottery
LOTTO LUCK: THE FREMANTLE HOSPITAL MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION GENERAL MANAGER ANGELA VAN DONGEN SAYS THE LOTTERY HAS RAISED $278,000 IN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS. PHOTO: GRANT CURRALL

THE Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation has found a recession-proof way to raise funds in an increasingly difficult economic environment - lottery.

The Freo Doctor Lottery operates in a similar way to a regular Lotterywest game or raffle; but in this case, the lottery is run on a participating company's behalf, where each week half the prize pool is distributed to the not-for-profit foundation and the other half to the company.

Employees are invited to be included in a draw each payday and can select how many $2 chances they would like to purchase.

The money is deducted from an employee's pay, much in the same way as superannuation contributions, and can be terminated at any time.

Foundation general manager Angela van Dongen said the lottery has raised almost $278,000 since November 2003.

"We introduced a lottery to meet our need for a mostly recession-proof way of funding some of our medical research grants," she told WA Business News.

"When times get tough, there's nothing people like more than winning a bit of extra cash.

"We also liked the fun aspect of the lottery and never get tired of seeing the winners' happy faces."

Ms van Dongen said it had become difficult to raise funds in recent years and that in times of an economic downturn, every contribution counted.

Foundation spokesperson Sonia Gurbiel said the Freo Doctor Lottery is easy to play and can be set up for any medium to large workforce with little effort.

Under state gaming laws the maximum prize pool for a business is $500.

"But this is a great way for businesses who don't have a sponsorship program or anything like that to really show their philanthropy by getting involved," Ms van Dongen said.

"It means that they are not only offering workers potential bonus pay through the prize pool, which in times like these is very helpful, but it means the company can use it as a PR boost to show people that they are doing something for their local community."

To date, gourmet processed meat provider Dorsogna, scaffolding company Cape Australia and commercial shipbuilder Austal Ships are some local businesses to participate.

Austal Ships, which has about 300 workers currently participating in the Freo Doctor Lottery each week, joined the fundraising venture to boost employee morale and support a worthwhile cause.

"It wasn't hard to find staff willing to support such a great cause," Austal spokesperson Courtney Gordon said.

"Staff love having the chance to take home the prize pool each week and we now have so many players that we're funding our own medical grant each year."

Austal's support is helping the foundation to conduct world-leading research into iron overload disease, otherwise known as haemachromatosis, which affects one in 200 Australians.

The shipbuilder's staff have also been given the opportunity to visit the laboratory to see the cutting-edge technology used to conduct the research and have experienced on-site haemachromatosis checks by researcher Professor John Olynyk.

Ms van Dongen has called on more Perth businesses to play the lottery so the foundation could conduct further medical research into areas such as cancer, diabetes, heart and liver diseases, Alzheimer's and anaphylaxis.

Located at Fremantle Hospital, the Fremantle Hospital Medical Research Foundation has conducted research since 1996, operating as an independent charitable trust that receives no direct government funding and relies on donations and its own fundraising endeavours.

The foundation offers three means of support to Fremantle Hospital-based researchers: the annual Fremantle Hospital Research Awards, the Barry Marshall Travel Award and the Warren Jones Awards.

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