The donors: Sandi and Jim Treliving, and family
The gift: $5-million
The cause: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation
The reason: To address gender issues in mental health
Sandi Treliving has been keenly aware of mental-health issues ever since her older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager.
“I’ve grown up in a home understanding the effects of mental health on an individual and on a family,” Ms. Treliving recalled from her home in Vancouver. She and her husband Jim, who owns Boston Pizza International, divide their time between Vancouver and Toronto, and several years ago Ms. Treliving became a volunteer at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She eventually joined the board of the CAMH Foundation and the couple made a $1-million donation in 2012.
A few months ago, Ms. Treliving was speaking with CAMH’s chief executive Deborah Gillis when the conversation turned to the gender gap in mental-health research. Men still make up most of the researchers in the field and far too little work is devoted to examining mental-health issues affecting women. Ms. Treliving was intrigued, and she and her husband have now contributed $5-million to fund “womenmind,” which will support several initiatives including recruiting female scientists, funding research projects, developing mentoring programs for women in science and holding an annual global research symposium. “I just really felt that this was something we needed to highlight,” she said.
Ms. Treliving is also hoping to involve her two daughters and five granddaughters in the program as volunteers or future board members. “They are always asking how they can get involved. Now they’ve got more than just a toe in it,” she said.