Charles and Margaret Juravinski have turned the tables on the typical birthday tradition of receiving gifts.

Instead, Margaret and Charles, who turned 91 on Nov. 1, chose to give a gift – a new investment of $3 million to support health research through the Juravinski Research Institute, a partnership between Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways,” said Charles. “The dedication and commitment we have seen by the research community and clinical teams has motivated and inspired Margaret and me to make another gift. When we made our gift in the spring, our goal was to inspire hope. We’d like this new gift to continue to inspire hope, collaboration and action.

“Margaret and I don’t really need anything for our birthdays. Instead, what would give us the most joy, is to see our donations making a difference right now, by supporting the bright, talented research community that calls Hamilton home.”

The new gift will fund new important health research projects through the Juravinski Research Institute, which was established through the couple’s transformative $100-million legacy estate gift in May 2019.

Earlier this year, at the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Juravinskis made a $3.3 million gift to support COVID-19 and brain health research.

“We know Charles and Margaret want to encourage others by their actions and build on the success of the phenomenal health research they have already helped foster here in Hamilton,” said Julian Dobranowski, of the Juravinski Research Institute steering committee.

“The impact of these investments will continue to benefit people everywhere, for generations to come. We are so thankful for their trust in our researchers, their belief in the work we all do and their tremendous generosity.”

Three additional COVID-19-related projects are being supported as part of the 2020 funding:

  • Assessing the success, impact and practicality of saliva-based COVID-19 testing for scale up for large asymptomatic populations, such as seniors in retirement homes. Amica Senior Lifestyles is co-funding the study.
  • Assessing the risk of outbreak and infection in retirement homes and creating tools to help public health units and retirement home operators assess risk and target preventative and contingency interventions
  • Examining the use of virtual care to help vulnerable seniors with socialization, exercise, nutrition and medication support during the COVID-19 pandemic

The funding has been directed to support strategic initiatives as identified by Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. The 2021 funding will be allocated to support research related to health system transformation.

Past gifts from the Juravinskis have made a tremendous impact across Hamilton for decades. The Juravinskis’ previous investments have:

  • helped to renovate and build new hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • funded scholarships, research chairs and fellowships
  • supported areas of care ranging from cancer to geriatrics, respirology to mental health and addictions

#91Reasons Twitter campaign

Beginning today, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton are inviting the #HamOnt community to share on Twitter why they are thankful for the Juravinskis. The goal is to reach #91Reasons to honour Charles’ 91st birthday, and to kick off the campaign, Rob MacIsaac, Paul O’Byrne, David Farrar and Tom Stewart are sharing their own reasons.

Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences:

“Charles and Margaret Juravinski have demonstrated their commitment to our community again and again. Their generosity is particularly inspirational during these difficult times when all of us are looking for some good news. Their commitment to supporting healthcare and health research continues to positively impact our ability to advance healthcare here in Hamilton, and around the world.”

Paul O’Byrne, Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University:

“Charles and Margaret Juravinski have redefined what it means to leave a legacy. We are so grateful for their unwavering support of transformative health research that is improving people’s health and well-being here at home, across the country, and around the world. They inspire us to be bold, collaborative and single-minded in the pursuit of finding answers to some of our most pressing health questions. Charles and Margaret are true champions.”

David Farrar, President, McMaster University:

“McMaster and Canadians everywhere are thankful for the Juravinskis’ exceptional commitment to health research and our researchers. The partnership rooted within the Juravinski Research Institute will continue to benefit people worldwide. We are immensely grateful to Charles and Margaret for their support of our collective abilities to advance people’s health and well-being.”

Thomas Stewart, President & CEO, St. Joseph’s Health System & CEO, Niagara Health:

“There are so many reasons to be thankful for the Juravinskis, it’s hard to choose just one. What I am most thankful for, is the Juravinskis’ desire to see St. Joe’s, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences work together for the wider, greater good. There’s no shortage of great minds, world-leading research, and unparalleled patient care right here in Hamilton – but it’s only by working together that we will truly be able to improve the health of people both locally and globally. The Juravinskis have bestowed on us the funds to change lives. We look forward to making them very proud of their investment in healthcare research.”