The gift, which is the single largest private donation ever made to a children’s hospital in Canada, will support the construction and ongoing operating costs of the SickKids Centre for Research and Learning.
“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Gilgan for his philanthropic leadership and support for the largest capital campaign in our history. This gift is a giant step forward in our mission to advance children’s health, and further enables our capacity to make groundbreaking discoveries in the years to come,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, SickKids. “His gift will have an enormous impact on our world-leading hospital and the benefits to children’s health will be felt here at home, and around the world.”
The $400 million, 21-storey, 750,000 square foot world-class facility is under construction at the corner of Bay and Elm streets in Toronto’s Discovery District. When it opens in August 2013, the SickKids Centre for Research and Learning will bring together 2,000 SickKids scientists, trainees and child health research staff. The state-of-the-art laboratory and learning facility will encourage interdisciplinary research and collaboration among scientific and clinical perspectives to accelerate discoveries, foster new knowledge and improve child health. SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally. This new facility will enhance the depth and breadth of research at SickKids to improve child health through prevention, better treatments and early detection of childhood disease.
“I have been a friend of SickKids for many years and know first-hand the critical and innovative work they do every day. I feel privileged to be able to play a significant role in advancing the research and learning in children’s health that will not only benefit my grandchildren, it will benefit many children around the world,” said Mr. Gilgan.
As a father of eight, a grandfather to four, and a dedicated philanthropist, Gilgan and his company, Mattamy Homes, are long-time supporters of SickKids. From 2005-2008, Gilgan spearheaded the Tour de Bleu cycling events and raised close to $1 million in support of the Pain Management program at SickKids. Mr. Gilgan, together with his employees, also raised more than $500,000 to help renovate Marnie’s Lounge at SickKids, a popular recreational space which offers patients a wide variety of programming along with various video games, board games, computers, movies and a pool table.
The research and learning facility brings together research staff currently working in six different buildings under one roof to enhance the opportunity for interactions between clinical and research colleagues. The integration of research with patient care and learning are among the strengths of SickKids.
Research activities at SickKids are coordinated under seven research programs, covering the spectrum of child health from wellness and normal development to causes of diseases, diagnostics, treatments and therapies. Examples of recent discoveries made by SickKids researchers include identifying: the “Toronto Protocol”, a new approach for detecting cancer early in patients at high risk for the disease; two subgroups of a paediatric brain cancer; a new way to predict multiple sclerosis in children through MRI scans; and a biochemical pathway in the brain that may explain the neurobiological basis of schizophrenia.
The facility is designed to encourage interdisciplinary research by locating researchers working on related issues in close proximity to one another. Researchers in the Centre will work in one of six “neighbourhoods” – each inspired by a cutting-edge research theme. Neighbourhoods will span two to three floors and will be connected by a spine of interactive space conducive to formal and informal meetings with the specific intent of encouraging interactions and collaborations.
“This is a game-changer for the future of children’s health and we are so grateful to Mr. Gilgan for his generosity, his vision and his belief in SickKids,” said Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research, SickKids. “Our research teams are collaborating on many grant-funded projects and we have bold ambitions for accelerating health advancements and discoveries once we move into our new home – the SickKids Centre for Research and Learning.”
SickKids Foundation launched a $200 million fundraising campaign at the building’s groundbreaking held in May 2010. The Campaign is led by TD Canada Trust President and CEO, Tim Hockey as volunteer Campaign Cabinet Chair. With Mr. Gilgan’s gift, a total of $105 million has been raised from individuals, corporations and foundations against the $200 million fundraising goal. Another $150 million has been contributed by the federal and provincial governments.
“Mr. Gilgan has been a dedicated volunteer member of the Campaign Cabinet since we launched the campaign,” said Hockey. “It is fitting that a man who has built communities across Canada and who is committed to community initiatives that support children and families is now helping to build this community of researchers which will help kids live happier and healthier lives.”
For more information on the SickKids Centre for Research and Learning and to see the real-time webcam at the construction site, go to: www.sickkidsfoundation.com/bepartofit
About SickKids Centre for Research and Learning
The SickKids Centre for Research and Learning will bring together researchers from different scientific disciplines and a variety of clinical perspectives, to accelerate discoveries, new knowledge and their application to child health — a different concept from traditional research building designs. The facility will physically connect SickKids science, discovery and learning activities to its clinical operations. Designed by award-winning architects Diamond + Schmitt Inc. and HDR Inc. with a goal to achieve LEED® Gold Certification for sustainable design, the Centre will create an architectural landmark as the eastern gateway to Toronto’s Discovery District. The SickKids Centre for Research and Learning is funded by a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Government of Ontario, philanthropist Peter Gilgan and community support for the ongoing fundraising campaign. For more information, please visit www.sickkidsfoundation.com/bepartofit
About SickKids Foundation
Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and is the largest charitable funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada. Philanthropy is a critical source of funding for SickKids — one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011, SickKids Foundation made an investment of $61.9 million in children’s health, a direct result of community and corporate support. For more information, please visit www.sickkidsfoundation.com