Q&A with Alicia Vandermeer, President and CEO, SHN Foundation

As we enter the holiday season of what has been a difficult and unprecedented year for all, SHN Foundation is reflecting on the generosity of our Scarborough community. We sat down with Alicia Vandermeer, President and CEO, SHN Foundation, to talk about the important role our supporters, donors, and volunteers have played in helping us to overcome obstacles and continue to provide exceptional care to Scarborough.

Earlier this year, SHN Foundation established a COVID-19 Emergency Fund to help support our frontline workers. How did the community help with this relief effort?

When the world came to a standstill at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our courageous staff and medical staff remained on the frontlines keeping Scarborough safe and fighting the virus. At the same time, our hospitals – and most all health care providers across the country – faced critical shortages of equipment and supplies necessary to navigate the pandemic, including personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, vital signs monitors, and more.

The commitment of our frontline heroes and the challenges they faced did not go unnoticed by our community and their generosity absolutely blew us away. During the first wave, we received over $2.7 million in donations, including a transformational $500,000 gift from Scarborough’s hometown superstar, The Weeknd. As well, more than 400,000 PPE supplies and 33,000 meals were delivered to our frontline staff from businesses and organizations across the city and even across borders.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough time for us all, but particularly for those living in Scarborough. Despite this, our community continues to open their hearts, give back, and support their neighbours, community, and hospitals. Even today, as SHN faces some of the highest COVID-19 case volumes in Ontario, we continue to see generosity of all kinds from our community, and we are eternally grateful for this support.

On behalf of all of us at SHN Foundation, I would like to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for all those who showed support for our hospitals this year. You’ve stepped up in our time of need so that we can do the same for you and your families when you need us most.

To see how the community responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, read the COVID-19 Impact Report.

How do donations to SHN Foundation make an impact for the hospital, frontline workers, and the Scarborough community?

No matter how or how much you give, your donations help put SHN in the best possible position to keep Scarborough and our patients safe and healthy. As our vibrant and diverse community continues to expand, so must SHN in order to meet their unique health care needs and to accommodate the growing number of patients now visiting our hospitals.

Your valued support is used to purchase vital medical equipment that our outstanding nurses, physicians, clinicians and other team members need to provide efficient and compassionate care. It also allows us to stay up-to-date with current technology and the latest models of care delivery while renovating and transforming our aging hospital facilities. Ultimately, your donation is helping to create a better, more accessible patient experience at SHN.

What’s the easiest way for our community to show their support and donate to our Scarborough hospitals this holiday season?

The holidays are always such a joyful time, and while we may not be able to celebrate how we usually do, it’s clear that the spirit of giving in Scarborough is still alive and well. And our Foundation provides interested donors with a number of different ways to show their support for SHN.

The quickest and easiest way to give is by using our online donation form at www.SHNFoundation.ca/donate – simply select your amount, provide your details, and click submit!

But there are plenty of other giving options as well! You can give a gift in memory of a loved one, in honour of a friend or family member, or even recognize one of our SHN frontliners with a gift to the SHN Superstars program. There are also options to make your gift by mail or by phone – visit our website at www.SHNFoundation.ca for more information.

We’re tremendously grateful to everyone choosing to make their holiday gift to SHN Foundation, and I would encourage everyone interested to do so by the end of the year. Not only will you be joining our growing community of support, but you will also receive a tax receipt for the full amount that you can use for your 2020 tax return.

Thank you to everyone who supported SHN this year. Whether you donated, volunteered or sent a message of support, you made a difference in Scarborough.

Happy holidays from all of us at SHN Foundation!