“A little good news in difficult times:” A letter to the community from Charles and Margaret Juravinski

Charles and Margaret Juravinski at their home in Greensville in May 2019. Photo by Georgia Kirkos

Last spring, we made a big decision, one that has brought us immense happiness and satisfaction.

Back on May 29, we announced, in the same way we are writing to you today, that we would be leaving a legacy gift for health research in Hamilton, an endowment that we anticipate will be worth about $100 million by the time both of us have died.

That gift represents the bulk of our eventual estate, and is expected to generate up to $5 million annually, to be shared equally by Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, working as partners on projects that they determine to be priorities.

We are very pleased to see how the partners have organized their plans for making use of this gift, working together under the banner of the Juravinski Research Institute.

Today, we are writing again, to share what we hope will be regarded as a little good news in difficult times.

We are accelerating our plan by making an immediate additional gift of $3.3 million, to help fund urgent research projects. Most of the research will concentrate on the immediate priority of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a man of 90 and woman of 88, we have seen the world face and overcome many frightening problems, including the ravages of the Great Depression, the threat of global fascism in the Second World War and the scourge of polio, to name just some.

In each case, the threat was grave, and the outcome uncertain. In each case, humanity prevailed and the future brightened.

Like everyone, we are deeply troubled by the fearsome threat of COVID-19, which has truly changed the world in just a few months.

We are concerned not for ourselves, but for the people around us: our friends and family, our neighbours near and far, the people who work in our community’s grocery stores, restaurants and hospitals and the kids who should be out playing in our schoolyards.

We want everyone to be free from this terrible virus, and to be able to live and move about without fear of spreading or picking it up.

We’d like to see this happen during what remains of our lifetimes, and we are excited to have the chance to help.

Through our lives in Hamilton we have been fortunate to build wealth to share with the community that helped us to prosper, and in our charity work we have had the chance to meet and learn about many talented and devoted researchers.

We want them to have the chance to do their best work in beating back this pandemic, by creating faster, more accessible means of testing that will show how the virus is spreading, by developing effective treatments for those who become ill and, ideally, to prevent more people from becoming ill by creating an effective vaccine.

These are massive, global efforts, and we know Hamilton’s researchers can make significant contributions to reaching these goals.

The two of us are staying safe and following the guidance of experts. We monitor the news very closely and we are truly heartened to see so many stories of neighbours reaching out to help one another in practical, meaningful ways.

We are deeply grateful for the dedication of health-care and emergency-services workers, and the many other essential personnel who are keeping us all safe and well-supplied.

We liken them to the soldiers who have gone to war for our country in the past. They are risking their own health and even their lives for our wellbeing, and we all owe it to them to follow the directions of our leaders very carefully.

These acts of bravery, kindness and caring prove that our love for this community is well placed, and we want to continue to do our part.

We have seen a lot in our lives, and we know by now that there is more than enough ingenuity and goodwill in this world to defeat this pandemic.

Bringing ingenuity and goodwill together requires resources, and that is why we are making this new gift.

Our wish is that it may inspire hope. We hope it will produce results that benefit people immediately. We urge others to find ways to give what they can.

Charles and Margaret Juravinski

To read more about Charles and Margaret Juravinski’s $3.3 million gift for COVID-19 and brain health research, please see this article on the Daily News.

To find out more about the projects that have been funded by this gift, please go to the Brighter World website.