Helping big businesses make a big difference

Andrew Ferris has a passion for helping big businesses make a big difference. So much passion he’s willing to eat the world’s spiciest pepper to prove it.

“We all have this opportunity to help out the future generation and we should take it. I love being able to empower organizations and members of the community to raise money in support of these kids,” says Andrew.

As Development Officer and Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Program Director at the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba (CHFM), Andrew fosters relationships with big companies like Walmart, Costco and The Brick to help them raise funds for HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. That can mean attending company meetings to share stories about kids they’re helping, coming up with innovative ways for these businesses to fundraise like having  Brady, the 2021 Champion Child, ring up customers at a Walmart checkout, and finding new ways to motivate and cheer  on the front line staff of these corporate  partners who are crucial to helping the cause.

“Everybody in our community has an important role ensuring the health of our children. Whether you have a kid who’s been directly impacted by the hospital or not, the kids are our future and child health is something that’s incredibly important and it’s not going away,” says Andrew.

Andrew has always felt inspired to help kids. He started volunteering as a summer camp counsellor in the ninth grade, worked at an agency supporting children living with disabilities right after high school, and then tailored his post-secondary education to work in the non-profit sector.

Andrew has turned caring for his community into a full-time career working at CHFM. In 2020 alone, CMN and Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations partners raised $1.6M that stays in Manitoba to help kids needing HSC Children’s Hospital.

“I love being able to empower these people to give to the hospital and to connect to the hospital,” says Andrew.

One group he has a special connection with is the Extra Life gamers who play online games across North American to fundraise for their local children’s hospitals.

“They’re gamers, doing what they love, and they choose to support the Children’s Hospital Foundation through their passion,” says Andrew.

Andrew is so dedicated to supporting  and motivating the Manitoba gamers helping HSC Children’s that he agreed to take the “one chip challenge” if they could raise over $20,000 USD in 2020. And they raised over $60,000 USD! So Andrew ate a chip covered in red-hot, spicy black Carolina Reaper seasoning, all while thanking the gamers for their support.

As the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba marks its 50th anniversary in 2021, Andrew feels the organization and its partners have a lot to be proud of.

“I want to celebrate new partnerships and I want to celebrate the fact that we have partners that have been with us for years and they’re not slowing down, they only want to do more. That to me is worth celebrating.”