This month Pleasure Guild, a volunteer organization of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and one of the oldest women’s organizations in Columbus, celebrates its 100-year anniversary. Over the last century, Pleasure Guild has changed in size and function though has remained true to its primary mission of bringing pleasure to the young patients of Nationwide Children’s through direct volunteer work and fundraising.
Pleasure Guild’s origins date back to 1890 when a group of women who had been sewing quilts for Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, decided that the children of Columbus deserved a similar hospital. The group raised $125 as a nucleus to fund the framework of a nine-bed hospital to serve the children of Columbus.
From this women’s group, Mrs. Erskine D. Fullerton established a “Pleasure Fund” to provide entertainment for patients. Under her direction, nearly 30 boys and girls met each Saturday and made crafts which were sold to raise money for the purchase of “pleasures” for children in the hospital. After Mrs. Fullerton’s death and in her memory, a number of young women combined efforts with the boys and girls, and in 1908 Pleasure Guild of Children’s Hospital was formalized.
Early fundraisers benefiting the hospital included charity balls, variety shows, horse shows, luncheon style shows and, since 1958, the annual children’s play.
Today’s events include SPAGIO’s “A Celebration of Wine, Food and Dining with the Stars” and an annual professional theatre production – 2010’s production will be The Music Man March 12-14 at the Palace Theatre. Since its inception, Pleasure Guild has raised more than $3.5 million in contributions that have recently supported the Hospice and Palliative Care Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Pleasure Guild members make a three and a half year commitment, and volunteer a total of 2,000 hours/year by participating in a variety of fundraising and service projects. For more information, or to become a member of Pleasure Guild, visit their membership page at www.pleasureguild.org, or contact Jackie Comisar, Pleasure Guild vice president, at (614) 607-6572.