Normally tough-as-nails Bill Holland had a tear in his eye early Wednesday as the CI Financial CEO cut a $20-million cheque to an Ontario hospital that treats kids with disabilities.
Bloorview Kids Rehab and Bloorview Kids Foundation received the largest gift ever given to a Canadian children's hospital: Mr. Holland and his wife Susanne have now donated a total of $26.2-million to the Toronto facility.
The latest donation kick starts an $80-million campaign that the hospital will use to recruit international research and clinical talent, train professionals, improve the facility and commercialize proven breakthrough treatments. Bloorview is the country's largest children's rehabilitation teaching hospital, serving about 7,000 kids each year.
"Bloorview is an amazing, unique institution...and one that clearly works," said Mr. Holland, who owns a stake in CI Financial worth $270-million. When you make a contribution to a place like Bloorview and you get a letter from the mother of a child who was helped in a significant way, it's the greatest feeling."
The new campaign - called No Limits - has plenty of Bay Street content, and Mr. Holland will have all sorts of opportunities to twist arms for the cause. The Bloorview foundation board includes former RBC Dominion M&A banker Tom Muir as chairman, and Morgan Stanley Canada head Dougal Macdonald as vice-chairman. The parent hospital's board features Bank of Montreal executive Tom Flynn as its chairman.
"Today's gift will allow us to recruit world-class physicians, therapists and scientists, with an initial focus in the area of children's brain injury," said Sheila Jarvis, President and CEO of Bloorview Kids Rehab. "It will also fund a family leadership program that will see parents and youth work alongside clinicians to improve hospital care, train future health-care professionals, and support families."