Hamilton philanthropists Charles and Margaret Juravinski have pledged to donate the bulk of their estate to support health research in the city.
The couple says they will create an endowment of more than $100 million to support researchers across Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
The donation will provide up to $5 million a year to the institutions, in perpetuity. It is one of Canada’s largest ever legacy gifts.
The endowment will create the Juravinski Research Centre, which will equally support Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton by funding research in a variety of areas including cancer, mental health, lung and respiratory care, and diseases of aging.
In a letter to the community, the couple said they hope their legacy in the city will be measured in the good health of those who come after them. “When it came time to start sharing our resources, we considered how our gifts could have the greatest possible impact on all the people we cared about. We knew that no matter one’s age or station in life, that everyone who lacks good health is equally vulnerable. There is no worry that compares to being sick or disabled and not knowing how things will turn out,” they said. “We figured that if we could help relieve or even cancel some of that worry for the families of our community, that we would be pleased.”
The Juravinskis, aged 89 and 87, have called Hamilton home for decades and lived through the Great Depression. They became self-made millionaires as owners of Flamboro Downs, a racetrack.
“Today, we are old. We love our lives, but as in all matters, we are also pragmatic. We know we are much closer to the end than to the beginning, and we are ready,” said Margaret and Charles. “We want to be sure our remaining resources are able to do as much good for as many people for as long as they can.”
The couple has previously donated more than $50 million to Hamilton organizations, including the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences, the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Education, Research & Development Centre at McMaster University and the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare and the Juravinski Innovation Tower at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
“Charles and Margaret Juravinski’s transformational gifts have forever changed health care in Hamilton and their legacy of giving will continue thanks to their investment in world-class research. By enabling collaborative research into mental health care, lung and respiratory health, oncology, and diseases of aging, the Juravinskis’ gift will impact not only patients and families in Hamilton, but countless others around the world for generations to come,” said Thomas Stewart, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System.
The couple says they hope their acts of charity will inspire others to do the same. “We are grateful for the love we have shared, the lessons we have learned and the opportunities we have enjoyed in this great community. We have one last wish: that others will share their own resources, whether great or modest, by creating their own legacy gifts. We want everyone to realize the true joy of sharing, as we have known.”