CANADA – Thousands of Canadian lives will be impacted thanks to a major increase in funding commitments by The Schroeder Foundation this year.
On the medical front, 2020/2021 marked the founding of the Schroeder Allergy and Immunology Research Institute at McMaster University, the creation of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and the opening of a Catheterization Lab at The Schroeder BRAIN&HEART Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital. The Foundation also increased the number of scholarships it gives to Winnipeg students, a donation that now totals over $3 million annually. The Foundation contributed to several other multi-year commitments including donations to the Toronto Rehab Institute and Appleby College. In the last year, $22 million was given to initiatives with total multi-year commitments of over $80 million.
The Schroeder Foundation is led by Walter Schroeder, founder of the Dominion Bond Rating Service (sold in 2014 when Schroeder retired). The Foundation is committed to improving health services for Canadians, fostering the arts and enhancing post-secondary education opportunities for vulnerable youth.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put stress on Canada’s already underfunded medical system, and made things even harder for Canada’s most vulnerable people,” said Walter Schroeder. “We stepped up our giving this year to help fill some of those gaps and help those who are being left behind.”
This year’s most significant new commitment was a $25 million donation to UHN Toronto General and Western Hospitals for the creation of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute. The gift, which will be allocated over the next 10 years, will support the early diagnosis, innovation treatment and prevention of arthritis and other related autoimmune diseases. The institute will treat 80,000 patients annually, and perform upwards of 1,200 joint replacements. It is the leading entity of this kind in Canada. The new commitment is on top of a $3 million donation already made to an osteoarthritis innovation fund.
“We are tremendously proud and tremendously grateful that Walter and Maria have chosen to build on their past support to UHN with this transformational gift,” said Tennys Hanson, Chief Executive Officer of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation. “This announcement is wonderful news for our clinicians and researchers who will comprise the Schroeder Arthritis Institute.”
The Foundation also committed $10 million over the next 5 years toward the creation of the Schroeder Allergy and Immunology Research Institute at McMaster University, Schroeder’s alma mater. This initiative will allow scientists, clinicians and post-doctoral fellows to conduct groundbreaking research to mitigate the effects of allergies through treatment and prevention.
“Allergies are becoming more prevalent and more severe, especially for young Canadians. And yet, this area is medicine is often overlooked and underfunded,” said Schroeder. “Having watched my grandchildren struggle with allergies, I have seen first hand how life altering they can be. Increased research in this area could alleviate a lot of unnecessary suffering.”
The Foundation is also increasing the number of post-secondary scholarships it provides to students from Winnipeg’s core neighbourhoods.
Students from Winnipeg’s Sisler High School, St. John’s High School and Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute receive full tuition scholarships to Red River College and the University of Manitoba thanks to annual contributions from The Schroeder Foundation. Students also receive bursaries throughout the year as a reward for good grades. This year, The Schroeder Foundation partnered with Vancouver Film School to provide 15 full tuition scholarships for students of the Sisler High School CREATE program. 2021 will also mark an increase in the number of scholarships given to students from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute.
The Foundation runs numerous charitable initiatives in Winnipeg, aimed at providing nutritious food for families and educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. The Foundation operates a food bank outreach program through St. John’s High School, which provides between 130 and 170 food hampers to student families, and employs community service workers to deliver the hampers and work with families to help them overcome barriers to education. It also funds a school cafeteria that provides free breakfast and heavily subsidized lunches for 150 students daily. This year, The Schroeder Foundation stepped up to cover a Winnipeg School Division budget cut that eliminated a $210,000 milk subsidy program. The Foundation’s Winnipeg education initiatives have a budget of over $3 million per year.
Walter Schroeder and his wife Maria were raised in Winnipeg’s core.
“Education is what raised us out of poverty and gave us the opportunity to succeed. We want to pay that forward by removing barriers for others,” said Schroeder. “We are particularly focused on fostering the next generation of Indigenous leaders.”
The Schroeder Foundation is currently collaborating with former Governor General David Johnson’s Rideau Hall Foundation and the University of Winnipeg on a
program aimed at training Indigenous teachers. The Foundation is also working with the Martin Family Initiative Entrepreneurial Program to improve Indigenous graduation rates.
The Schroeder Foundation devotes significant resources to improving health services for all Canadians. In recent years they have also invested heavily in the arts in Newfoundland & Labrador, creating a theatre company to build a new musical celebrating the arts and culture of the province’s people. Some of their most personal efforts, however, have been in their hometown of Winnipeg, where they have created scholarships and other programs that support students in some of the city’s most vulnerable high schools.
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