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Funds raised by Brian Culbert (right) support the work of Dr. Isaac Odame (left). Mr. Culbert’s fundraising was inspired by his son Matthew (centre).SICKKIDS FOUNDATION

Five-year campaign will reimagine SickKids campus in Toronto.

At The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, 21st-century medicine is being held back by aging infrastructure. Now SickKids Foundation is calling on the next generation of philanthropists to help meet an ambitious goal of raising $1.3-billion in five years to build a hospital for the future.

“Our vision includes design features for optimal family-centred care, state-of-the-art technology and best-in-class patient safety and infection control,” says Dr. Mike Apkon, president and CEO of SickKids.

The five-year SickKids VS Limits campaign will enable re-imagining the SickKids campus in Toronto, including building a new patient care centre on University Avenue ($600-million); continuing breakthrough paediatric health research ($600-million); and establishing partnerships for better, co ordinated patient care ($100-million).

“It’s going to take all of us to achieve this ambitious goal – donors who give monthly, at their local retailer, at community events, through employee campaigns, you name it,” says Ted Garrard, CEO, SickKids Foundation.

Support from new contributors is an important part of the campaign, and three programs – SickKids Activators, SickKids Innovators and SickKids Warriors – are designed to attract emerging young philanthropists.

Warriors: Brian Culbert’s extreme challenges

“My ultra marathon started the day my son Matthew was born, I just didn’t realize I was in a race,” says Brian Culbert, a former pro-cyclist and endurance athlete who is inspiring his community to raise funds for the SickKids Warriors program, which encourages racing and endurance enthusiasts to fundraise for SickKids by participating in physical-activity-based challenge events.

Through Racing4Lives, Mr. Culbert has raised more than $300,000 toward his goal of $500,000 by taking part in extreme events. He’s participated in a gruelling 24-hour mountain bike race, the 168-km Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc and, most recently, the Fat Dog 120 ultramarathon through the Canadian Rockies.

“I’m grateful to Matthew, who was born with a genetic skin disorder, for opening my eyes to the experience of giving. When you do things solely for your own benefit, it’s like having too much sugar; after a while you can overdose on it. I’m happiest when I do something and see that the end result benefits someone else,” he says.

Mr. Culbert says supporting SickKids creates a legacy. “It doesn’t stop, so when you raise that dollar, there’s something tangible that will last through generations. Knowing you have done something towards creating that positive outcome is pretty special.”

For more on this program and to get involved, please visit

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Didier Tovel’s non-traditional fundraiser engages millennials.SICKKIDS FOUNDATION

Activators: Didier Tovel’s music for millennials

Inspired by the passion of people working at SickKids, Didier Tovel, founder of SNDWRx, the award-winning audio post-production company, tapped his own passion for sound and music to create Fundrager, a party with high-profile live-music acts, to raise money for SickKids Foundation.

He is one of a group of Activators who have committed to using their creativity to conceive and manage a fundraising event to raise a minimum of $10,000.

To encourage the participation of millennials, Mr. Tovel aimed for a non-traditional fundraiser. “I didn’t want an event aimed at established, wealthy individuals – the Fundrager is for young professionals in the advertising and creative industries. It’s a great way to introduce people to philanthropy and show that by getting together – and having a good time – individuals can make a difference,” he says.

“Everybody is associated with kids in one way or another. Millennials understand they have a responsibility [to contribute], and events like this show philanthropy is for everyone, not just the very wealthy,” he adds.

For more on this program and to get involved, please visit

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Davida Petroff (left) and Lauren Petroff aim to recruit young professionals for the Innovators campaign.SICKKIDS FOUNDATION

Innovators: Cousins make an impact

Lauren and Davida Petroff – cousins and best friends – know first-hand how important SickKids is to the community. Lauren was first diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkins lymphoma when she was 13 years old and following a relapse, she was treated with an autologous stem cell transplant – at the time an innovative procedure for the hospital. Davida was one of her biggest sources of support during this challenging time.

While personal experience is obviously a motivating factor, the Innovators program appeals to young professionals like the Petroff cousins on many levels.

“We can give back in a way that makes sense for our generation: a sum of money that is manageable, involvement in where the money goes and the extra information that influences how the funds are spent,” says Davida.

Supporters of the Innovators program commit a $5,000 donation for two consecutive years. At the end of each calendar year, the Innovators come together as a group and vote (Dragons’ Den-style) on the fundraising priority project they’d like their funds to support.

“It’s empowering knowing you have input on how the money is spent. It’s more than donating money; it’s understanding how it impacts the various areas of expertise at the hospital,” says Lauren.

As a member of the Innovators Advisory Council, Davida says contributing to strategy and plans for the group is particularly rewarding. “We are aiming to recruit more Innovators. If we have 100, that means we would have $500,000 a year to make a difference at SickKids.”

For more on this program and to get involved, please visit

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.