Quebec community leader raises funds and awareness for infectious diseases
COVID-19 has dramatically affected how people in the province of Quebec are giving. According to a recent publication, although much of the event-based fundraising has been cancelled, funds raised by corporate donations, private foundations and individuals were massively redirected to organizations working on the frontlines. Meanwhile, forward-thinking and loyal donors have ramped up initiatives using their influence to inspire other community members.
“I experienced excellence in patient-centered care that one can only encounter at the Jewish General Hospital. The treatment quality is unparalleled,” said Quebec media owner and Chairman of the Board of RNC MEDIA Inc., Pierre R. Brosseau. Connected to the hospital through the late André Bureau, former CRTC chair and Astral Media president, Pierre was called upon to help support the hospital over a decade ago.
In 2014, Pierre created Le Festin de Babette, a JGH Foundation community partner event. His goal: to assemble key Quebec families and changemakers together in one room, to wine and dine, while raising funds for Alzheimer’s Disease research in Dr. Andréa C. LeBlanc’s laboratory at the Lady Davis Institute. “My father passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, and I am sensitive to the cause because I am a good candidate for this illness.”
Donating nearly $3 million in personal and Brosseau Family Foundation gifts, Pierre was delighted by the success of the event and decided to change the focus of his philanthropic efforts for the next 5 editions of Le Festin de Babette in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit. “After meeting with Dr. Karl Weiss, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at the JGH, I was sold and decided the benefitting department would be his until 2023. It was harder then to get people interested in supporting the Centre for Infectious Diseases initially, but we still managed to raise $400,000.”
In the spring of 2020, with the coronavirus impacting each and every one of us, donations to combat this deadly virus, among other infectious diseases, suddenly became very necessary and relevant. “People began to recognize the importance of investing in research to fight infectious diseases. The Honorable Denis Coderre, who also happens to be the JGH Foundation’s Ambassador, decided to join me in raising funds and awareness for the newly formed The Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases at the JGH, headed up by Dr. Weiss. Together with the Foundation, we are working on a campaign to raise $7.5 million through our combined connections. Following the initial solicitation of major donors, the general public will be solicited through television and radio networks across Quebec at the end of February 2021.”
The Centre of Excellence in Infectious Diseases will be home to 7 new microbiologists, who will devote themselves to the discovery of novel means to prevent antibiotic resistance, as well as research into other viral and infectious diseases. We must be ready for what comes next. We have seen first-hand the impact of COVID-19 on our society, our health, our way of life. It is only through cutting-edge research – the kind that happens at the JGH – that we will be able to meet the next microbial foe head-on.
“I have been privileged in my life to be able to give back, and I hope to impart that same desire onto my children. If we have it in our wallets and our hearts, we should do what we can to leave this world a better place. It is just the way I see things at this point in my life.”
“Together with the Foundation, we are working on a campaign to raise $7.5 million.”