I’m not usually one to use a blogpost to point to “cool stuff on the internet”, but in this case I’ll make an exception.
It’s no great secret that I work at Canada’s largest paediatric hospital, a place with something more than 8,000 employees, some 2,000 of whom are in or affiliated with its Research Institute. Lots of exciting things go on in the SickKids R.I., but the most exciting in recent memory is the ongoing construction of a new Centre for Research and Learning. This new building will bring together researchers currently distributed across half a dozen sites, and cost about $400 million in total; a further $100 million investment will create an endowment to support operating expenses. Significant buy-in from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Government of Ontario has underwritten two very large pieces. Nevertheless, there was still around $200 million that needed to be raised. A plethora of small initiatives (including a highly successful cookie-baking competition among our group, which I didn’t enter, and an art exhibition, which I did) have gathered an impressive amount of funds so far, but what’s really been missing is an A-list, enterprise-level, naming donor – one with a lot of money and a large heart.
Enter Peter Gilgan, the founder and CEO of Mattamy Homes, with a stunning donation of forty million dollars. As you can read in last week’s announcement, it’s not the first time he’s been involved in raising money for the hospital, but this kicks it up to a whole new level. This represents the single largest philanthropic donation to a children’s hospital in Canada, ever, and believe me, a it’s a very welcome one.
So where’s this cool internet stuff, then? Well, as part of the run-up to the announcement, the SickKids Foundation (the good folks who work with donors to raise all of these funds) put together a rather nice video. The reason I mention it here is that it prominently features The Centre for Applied Genomics, where I work – most, but not all, of the lab equipment and people pipetting are from our group, including the two you see on the splash screen in the YouTube link below. I can claim a tiny role in helping to facilitate the filming, as a kind of lab “fixer”, although the project was organized and overseen by very experienced Foundation personnel and a crack video crew. I stayed conveniently out of shot, in favour of more photogenic colleagues – some of whom have appeared in other videos, such as this rather excellent one.
So, without further ado, here it is: Thank You 40 Million Times, featuring a bunch of molecular biologists, among others. We’re slated to start moving in just over a year from now, in April/May of 2013 – exciting times, indeed.