A LETTER FROM the President & CEO

You may have heard me say before that I love a challenge. The bigger it is, the more determined I become.

I know from the support we get from our donors that there are thousands of you who respond to a call for action the same way – even in times of severe crisis like we have been living in since March, 2020 when it was announced that we were “going into lockdown” to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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At that time, no one knew for sure what would happen next. The entire world seemed to be in a state of uncertainty.

Eighteen months later and nearly 1.5 million cases in Canada, including 26,700 deaths, COVID-19 is still consuming much of our lives.

Thousands of Albertans have had to find new ways to make a living. Family and small businesses have put up the fight of their lives to survive. And every day, we have worried. About ourselves. Our family. Our friends and our neighbours.

Like so many of you, the University Hospital Foundation faced challenges last year that we have never experienced before. The very core of our business – fundraising and friend-raising, bringing people together to find solutions to the most complex health-related challenges – was turned upside down.

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, President & CEO

Thanks to you, our incredible donors who made more donations in 2020-2021 than any other time in our history, we have been inspired to set our sights on going beyond a return to normal.

Our Donors

We are turning our resilience to near-catastrophic disruption into a catalyst for change in health and healthcare in Alberta and around the world.

Let me explain. As the chaos of COVID-19 swept across the globe in 2020, the executive team at the University Hospital Foundation stepped back to identify organizations that were continuing to do well, those that were struggling, and most importantly, the differences between the two.

We discovered that those organizations that were able to adjust quickly, switch gears when needed and boldly disrupt longstanding approaches to achieve better results were the ones still thriving.

As proud as we are of the Foundation’s accomplishments over the years, we must do more, not the same, in our pursuit of better health. We must seek innovative approaches, new partnerships and bold ideas to bring the right people, resources and solutions together. To make this happen, and to hold us accountable to everything we say we are going to do, we have created a plan that establishes our promise and purpose for the next decade.

Ignite 2030 focuses on our role as agents of hope, boldly seeking solutions to the most complex challenges and making life better for Albertans, and for people around the world.

I encourage anyone who wishes to learn more about Ignite 2030 to click on the link above.

There is something else I would like to say to all of you who supported the University Hospital Foundation in 2020-2021. I know you have heard this from us before, but you deserve to hear it again – thank you.

Thank you for your generous donations, for your perseverance in the face of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, and for thinking of us while being consumed not only with the health and safety of yourself and immediate family members, but your parents and grandparents; with the education of your children; with the loss of face-to-face conversations and all-enveloping bear hugs; and missing once-in-a-lifetime occasions like the birth of a baby, or saying goodbye to a loved one.

Which brings me to something very personal to me. I lost Michael, my dear husband of 38 years, and my father, during COVID. Neither of them had the virus, but the very real danger of contracting it, and the protocols in place around social distancing, made their passing as surreal and unimaginable as they were tragic.

Chris Fowler, MA, Chair, Finance & Investment Committee

Despite the challenges that the pandemic caused on businesses around the world, the University Hospital Foundation saw an historic high in gift volumes. This has shown us there is no better place to invest than in our health system and our communities.

For those of you who have suffered similar losses, or are among the thousands of people who have been hit by the crippling economic impact of COVID, I wish you all the comfort and support you need to get through what you are dealing with.

Thank you also for your belief in the University Hospital Foundation as trusted stewards of your investment and in our ability to ensure that your gift would be used to its fullest potential.

As our community of donors grew, so too did the impact of your generosity. We distributed $16 million to critical areas of patient care and research at the University of Alberta Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, our second highest distribution total ever.

The beneficiaries of your generosity are many. There is Lukas Jardine, a stroke victim whose life may have been changed forever if not for the University of Alberta Hospital’s Stroke Ambulance and the team of stroke specialists who arrived at his doorstep to administer life-saving care.

There is Mandy Rouselle who survived not one, not two, but three near-death experiences in her life-and-death battle with cardiac disease, a battle she could very well have lost if not for the incredible medical teams – and advanced equipment and technology – at the Mazankowski Heart Institute. It is support by donors, sponsors, and partners like you through events like our record-breaking 630 CHED Heart Pledge Day, that raised an incredible $511,735 despite being virtual due to COVID.


Mandy’s Maz Story

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Record-breaking $511,735 raised during Heart Month

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Your investments supported the purchase of the newest technology for patients with uncontrollable epileptic seizures. Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive procedure that enables brain surgeons to eliminate seizure-causing growths on the brain with far less side effects than traditional brain surgery.

You enabled us to extend more critically important care into the community by supporting the opening of the first floor of West Edmonton Kidney Care for people living with end-stage kidney disease.

Taryn Gantar, Hemodialysis Patient

Home hemodialysis has given me my life back. It’s convenient. It’s empowering. You dialyze when you want for as long as you want. And you feel so much better.

Your gifts helped to inspire and continue extraordinary research, including the work of Dr. Wendy Johnston and Dr. Sanjay Kalra, neurologists at the University of Alberta who have dedicated their careers to unlocking the mystery of ALS, a debilitating brain disease.

Through strategic partnerships with private industry, the public sector and philanthropic community members, the University Hospital Foundation serves as a catalyst for innovation and advances in patient care. We established new partnerships with international organizations like Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada). Through our joint investment, medical specialists at the University of Alberta Hospital are working towards gaining a better understanding of care gaps in diagnosis, patient care and access to treatment for Albertans living with progressive fibrosing interstitial lung disease, a condition that damages lung function and diminishes quality of life.

And you inspired us to find clarity in the chaos of COVID that was all around us, and develop a plan that would not only help us move forward as an organization, but provide invaluable funding to the people who desperately need our support.

In what felt like the blink of an eye, we created the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund that generated over $792,608 for our incredibly brave and dedicated frontline workers. These are the doctors and medical teams who cared for the sickest COVID patients, and the dedicated researchers who will use every piece of data they have collected to learn more about the nature of pandemics, and develop new strategies to protect us from them.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

Medicine Behind the Mask

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COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

Donors answered the call

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With your support, severe COVID patients like Bill Maxim, the Miracle Man, received the emergency care he needed to survive despite the odds stacked against him.

With the support of generous sponsors and supporters, the University Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees, our signature fundraising and friend-raising event, and a fixture on the holiday scene in Edmonton for the past 35 years, was transformed into a virtual event for the first time in history, including our first online 50/50, and still raised over $296,000 in support of Alzheimer’s disease research.

To the Festival committee chairs and volunteers who had to turn on a dime and learn new skills to make the move from live to virtual possible, and the hundreds of other volunteers who were asked to “wait until next year” because their roles were specific to live events, your passion and commitment reached new levels.

As did the support we received through Full House Lottery. In another record-breaking effort, the Full House Lottery sold out and the University Hospital Foundation took in over $3.25 million net from lottery proceeds, which went towards advancing critical research in multiple sclerosis.

These are just a few of the areas of care touched by your kindness and generosity – in a year in which disruptions to every area of our lives was the order of the day.

And that is why we are shooting for the stars. Because you have inspired us to go above and beyond anywhere we have gone before.

And another reason – because we have to.

As challenging and all-consuming as the past year has been for all of us, imagine for just a moment what it would have been like if we had accomplished only half of what we did, or even less than that.

Never in our lifetime has philanthropy played a greater role in healthcare than it is about to right now. As an organization, we are poised, ready to go, prepared for lift-off into a future that will be as exhilarating as it is challenging.

And you know me, I love a challenge, especially with people like you on our side.

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, ICD.D
President and CEO
University Hospital Foundation

University Hospital Foundation Board

As we look to the year ahead, the University Hospital Foundation is excited to welcome Joette Decore, as our new Board Chair. Joette joined our Board in 2017, bringing her experience to the Governance & HR Committee, and serving this past year as Vice Chair. After serving for two years as Chair, David Finlay will remain on the Board as Past Board Chair. We extend our sincerest gratitude for David’s leadership and we are delighted that his dedication, knowledge and passion for philanthropy will continue to contribute to the success of the Foundation. We would also like to show our deep appreciation for Jim Brown and Beryl Bacchus for their years of dedication and support as they move on from the Foundation’s Board, and welcome our newest Board member, Chris Fowler, who will bring his expertise in finance to our Finance and Investment Committee as Chair.


Learn more about the Board


AHP High Performer Status

As one of six organizations in Canada to receive such recognition in 2020, this designation is a testament to our commitment to our mission – to advance excellence – in everything we do, including our daily operations and financial integrity.

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Imagine Canada Accreditation

Through accreditation, we join a growing community of more than 200 organizations dedicated to operational excellence. Imagine Canada exists to work alongside other charitable sector organizations to ensure that charities continue to play a pivotal role in building, enriching and defining our nation.

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Top 70 Employer

The University Hospital Foundation was recognized as one of Alberta’s Top 70 Employers for 2021. This special designation recognizes the Alberta employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

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