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The gift: $500,000

The cause: McMaster University

The reason: To fund bursaries for students in the midwifery education program

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When Eileen Hutton retired as the assistant dean of McMaster University’s midwifery program last July, she was determined to do something to help students afford their education.

Dr. Hutton’s family and friends got together and they recently launched a bursary for midwifery students, naming it after the only assistant deans in the program’s 25-year history; Karyn Kaufman and Dr. Hutton. The Hutton family is matching all donations raised for the bursary on a three-to-one basis up to a total of $500,000. The university will also match every dollar raised one to one.

The midwifery program is an intense four-year undergraduate degree and only 30 students are admitted each year. Dr. Hutton said most students typically already have one degree and many are financially stretched. The students also spend much of their third and fourth year in practical training, giving them little time to earn money. Many people who receive care from the students “have no idea of the challenging circumstances students are living in,” said Dr. Hutton, who is a professor emeritus at the university. While the bursary is exciting, she hopes that it will also “raise the bar a little bit for people to think about what our program’s needs are.”

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