Dignitaries and officials alike are calling today a new day in maternal and pediatric healthcare in the province, as businessman and philanthropist Jim Pattison donated $50 million to the Children's Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.
The $50 million donation announced today in Saskatoon is the largest single donation to a charitable organization in the province's history. And in honour of that gift, the new hospital will now be called the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital, and the foundation is also changing its name accordingly to the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation.
Premier Brad Wall who was also on hand for the announcement, expressed gratitude and appreciation for the gift.
"Mr. Pattison's generous donation... will ensure that a world-class children's hospital will finally become a reality in Saskatchewan," Wall said.
"We are tremendously grateful for this visionary gift, which will help us achieve long-term, stable funding to help create a world-class, medical and research centre of excellence for Saskatchewan children, moms, and families right here at home," Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of the Jim Pattison Children's Hospital Foundation, said.
“Mr. Pattison brings with him today funds for new research initiatives, immeasurable support for endowment and fellowships and the ability for the Foundation to ensure that the right equipment and enhancements are in place for Saskatchewan’s youngest patients and moms-to-be,” Boback-Lynne said.
Jim Pattison is a Vancouver-based businessman and philanthropist originally from Luseland, Saskatchewan.
"If you know much about him, or read about him, you know he's a very, very generous man," said Wall. "I don't think he is just proud that he is a very successful businessman, but he's also very proud of what he's been able to share. He is probably the most Saskatchewan-orientated Vancouver resident I've ever known. It's great to have him back home and we're very greatful for his generosity," Wall added.
Pattison said he has also never forgotten his roots growing up in Saskatchewan.
"Me and my family owe a lot to Saskatchewan. My mom's family were homesteaders, my dad's family were homesteaders... So we wouldn't be here without Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan people," said Pattison.
He is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Jim Pattison Group, the second-largest privately-held company in Canada. paNOW is a subsidiery of this group.
The company has numerous business ventures in diverse industries, including seven radio stations in Prince Albert, North Battleford and Meadow Lake, as well as Pattison Agriculture with John Deer dealerships in North Battleford, Unity and across the province, and grocery chain Save-On-Foods.
Naming a health facility after a generous donor is not new to Saskatchewan: others include the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Hospital in Moose Jaw, the Leslie and Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health in Saskatoon and the RAWLCO Centre for Mother Baby Care in Regina.
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL PROGRESS
With two years left before the hospital opens its doors, the Saskatoon Health Region has already recruited more than 70 per cent of the pediatric specialists it will need to staff the province’s new maternal and children’s hospital.
Active recruitment of pediatric specialists continues and 13 interested candidates have made site visits to Saskatoon since January.
Construction of the new 176 bed, 409,032 square foot hospital reached 55 per cent completion at the end of April.
The Saskatchewan government is contributing $235.5 million toward the total project cost of $285.2 million, and $21.4 million will come from interest in investments by the Saskatoon Health Region.
In addition, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan is contributing $75 million through their capital campaign.
The project remains on time and on budget, and is scheduled for completion in 2019.
--With files from CKOM News Staff
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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