Members of the Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS) visit the KidSIM Lab at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, which they funded through their support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. This year, CHAS was recognized with a National Philanthropy Day Generosity of Spirit Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Calgary & Area.
Foundations recognize individuals and groups whose generosity makes a positive difference
Story by Amelia Schofield
Communities around the world celebrate every Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day to honour those who give back.
Founded in 1986 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the day also sees members of AFP chapters across Alberta gather to host events that recognize this generosity.
“Thank you so much for everything you do to ensure that we are all successful in providing the best healthcare to Albertans,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, of the invaluable contributions made by Foundations, their donors and their volunteers.
This year, National Philanthropy Day events took place in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge to recognize people and groups who contribute to healthcare charities across the province.
As well, several of AHS’ foundation partners have nominated individuals and organizations for their philanthropic contributions to healthcare, including:
- Dr. Keith Aronyk: As a driving force behind the University Hospital Foundation’s Brain Centre Campaign, Dr. Aronyk has played a visionary role in shaping the future of advanced brain care in Alberta. With his support, the foundation has raised over $50 million towards bringing the best technology, healing environments, neurologists and neurosurgeons to the University of Alberta Hospital.
- Bellerose Composite High School: For the past 14 years, Bellerose Composite High School in St. Albert, Alberta has hosted an annual Bike-a-Thon to raise funds in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The event has raised over $1.8 million since 2004.
- Peter Burgess and Candace Toews: Peter Burgess and Candace Toews’ three-year-old daughter passed away suddenly in 2007. At first they struggled with how specifically to give back to the hospital, but Burgess knew he could camp regardless of the weather, and A Freezing Father’s Fundraiser was born. Each January, Burgess camps in a tent for a week to raise funds in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. To date, the event has raised $74,000 in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
- Darren Baumgardner, Peter Wilkes and Guy Mersereau: To celebrate the Cross Cancer Institute’s recent 50th anniversary, Darren Baumgardner, Peter Wilkes and Guy Mersereau launched the Show the Love campaign which raises funds in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. In addition, all three individuals are co-chairs of the Cross Cancer Institute Golf Classic, which celebrated its 30th anniversary and raised over $1 million in 2018.
- The Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS): Since 1908, CHAS has fundraised for the Alberta Children’s Hospital and its predecessors. Their dedication and commitment has funded many groundbreaking initiatives, which have helped the hospital become a national and international leader in child healthcare.
- David Diachinsky, Inger Eakin, Mary Nielsen, Kara Penney and Andrea Van Damme: As dedicated partners of the University Hospital Foundation, David Diachinsky, Inger Eakin, Mary Nielsen, Kara Penney and Andrea Van Damme have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to giving back. Through the Maz Spin-A-Thon, a 12-hour, 12-team cycling challenge, the group has helped raise significant funds in support of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute.
- Enbridge: For the past 10 years, the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer has brought Canadians together in raising over $378 million dollars for cancer-related causes. In Alberta, thousands of riders join together each year to cycle in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The funds raised support research, clinical trials and enhanced care programs for Albertans living with cancer.
- Etc Decor: As a key partner of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Etc Decor helps bring the foundation’s annual Snowflake Gala to life in support of world-class care for families at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. Anne Finzer, Chief Event Architect of Etc Decor is also an avid supporter of the Stollery Women’s Network and helps with decor at various other foundation events throughout the year.
- The Halina Family Foundation: As presenting sponsor of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Snowflake Gala, the Halina Family have provided outstanding support towards children’s healthcare in Alberta. New to the foundation, but no strangers to the Hospital, the Halina Family stepped into the role of in 2016, and will be joining the foundation again this year for the third consecutive time. The Snowflake Gala raises more than $1 million annually in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
- Mike Myshak and the Myshak Group of Companies: Mike Myshak and the Myshak Group of Companies have demonstrated remarkable support of both the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and Alberta Cancer Foundation. The Myshak Group invests where they live, and have made significant contributions towards the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute.
- Philippa Madill: Since the age of 4, Philippa Madill has hosted lemonade stands in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. Now 16, Madill continues her lemonade stands which now feature cookies, cupcakes and energy bars because she enjoys an active lifestyle and holds most of her stands at charity runs and bike rides.
- George Smith: As a founding member of the University Hospital Foundation’s Brain Centre Campaign Cabinet, George Smith has generously given his time and resources to the campaign since 2012. In addition to his volunteerism, Smith has made several philanthropic gifts to the campaign which have supported research and innovation for brain care in Alberta.
AHS is grateful to its foundation partners, along with these individuals and organizations, for their incredible contributions towards advancing healthcare across Alberta.
Visit ahs.ca/give for a full list of Alberta’s health foundations.
- Written with content contributed by the foundations