$26 million gift to Canada’s Children’s Hospitals: Locally, $2 million to help children and youth at CHEO

OTTAWA – November 18, 2021 ­– Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF) together with Children’s Healthcare Canada (CHC) are thrilled to announce a $26 million investment from Thistledown Foundation to support Canada’s 13 acute care children’s hospitals across the country. This historic gift recognizes the immense impact of the pandemic on Canadian children, youth, and their families.


A donation of $2 million to each acute care children’s hospital coast-to-coast is intended to meet urgent local needs and to ensure children and their families have access to the best available care, regardless of where they call home. “Through this gift, our hope is that children across Canada will have the best possible care to enable them to feel better soon and get back to the important job of being kids,” said Fiona McKean, co-founder and Chair of Thistledown Foundation.


“Tobi and Fiona are incredible change-makers with huge hearts. As an Ottawa resident, I am so proud that our fellow Ottawa citizens have made this truly unprecedented gift – not only helping kids and families from eastern and northern Ontario, western Quebec and Nunavut where CHEO serves but in every community across Canada. Kids are truly the unsung heroes of this pandemic, and this historic gift recognizes and highlights the urgent need to make them a priority,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO. Click here for a video message from Alex Munter.


For millions of children and youth who have experienced extended school closures, delays in access to essential social, community and healthcare services, and physical separation from friends and family, the pandemic has had both direct and indirect impacts on their health and well-being. Deferred or delayed access to child development services, mental healthcare, surgical and other diagnostic services can have devastating and long-term impacts on children’s health outcomes. Of particular concern, children’s hospitals across the country are reporting significant increases in visits and admissions related to anxiety, depression and eating disorders among children and youth. Canada’s children’s hospitals have responded swiftly, adapting and innovating to support timely delivery of urgent and emergency physical and mental healthcare services for Canada’s eight million kids.


This gift coincides with National Child Day which is celebrated on November 20. It commemorates a commitment Canada made to uphold the rights of all children. This includes the opportunity for children to be protected from harm, be provided with their basic needs including access to healthcare, be advocated for and have a voice to ensure every opportunity to reach their full potential.


“The incredible generosity and power of this donation through the national network of children’s hospitals will create a positive impact and be felt in the smallest and largest communities throughout Canada. It’s heartwarming to have these donors step up to put children’s needs first at a time when they need it the most,” said Jennifer Gillivan, President and CEO, IWK Foundation and Chair, CCHF Board of Directors.


Thistledown Foundation is a private charitable foundation established by Fiona McKean and Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify.


About Thistledown Foundation

The Thistledown Foundation is a private charitable foundation established in late 2019 by Tobias Lütke and Fiona McKean. Its core mission is to advance technological solutions for decarbonization. In the spring of 2020, in light of the global pandemic, Thistledown expanded its focus to contribute to Canada’s response to COVID-19 by providing funding to accelerate academic research and to improve the domestic supply chain for personal protective equipment (PPE). Visit Thistledown.ca


About Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations 

Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations (CCHF), established in 2017, is a not-for-profit organization that raises funds for a national network of hospital foundations as the largest single, non-government funder of child health in Canada. CCHF continues to receive generous support through donors within Children’s Miracle Network® as well as contributions from additional companies and donors. Together, we represent 13 of Canada’s children’s hospitals where the greatest challenges are tackled; our hospitals see the most critical cases. Your contribution helps your local children’s hospital ensure that all sick and injured children have access to the very best care from coast to coast. Visit childrenshospitals.ca


About Children’s Healthcare Canada

Children’s Healthcare Canada is a national association representing health service delivery organizations serving children and youth. Our members include all sixteen Canadian Children’s Hospitals, Regional Health Authorities, Community Hospitals, Rehabilitation and Children’s Treatment Centres, and Home Care Agencies. Through purposeful partnerships, we accelerate excellence and innovation in health systems caring for children and youth. Visit childrenshealthcarecanada.ca


About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment center, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a partner of the Kids Come First Health Team, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated system for pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.


For more information:


Local Media Contact

 Katrina Bussey
Director of Communications
CHEO Foundation
[email protected]


National Media Contact

 Brady Carballo-Hambleton
VP, Marketing, Engagement & Analytics
Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations
[email protected]


Sandra Chiovitti
Media Relations
SickKids Foundation
[email protected]

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