Conn Smythe Foundation Summer 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Conn Smythe Foundation,

Welcome to our 2017 summer newsletter, an overview of our June meeting in which the Board Members and Directors discussed and mutually agreed upon the path forward we will take in 2017. We are delighted to be carrying on with some of our more recently established relationships, as well as looking into our past to reengage with valued organizations with whom the CSF has long, and fruitful history. We are also delighted to be granting a first time charitable donation to an organization new to the CSF. In this newsletter, we highlight the missions, goals, and targeted areas of our donations to these organizations.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids):

During our meeting, we welcomed Jen Ashcroft, an Associate Director for Sick Kids Foundation, which will soon be kicking off one of the largest pediatric fundraising campaigns in North America. The Hospital for Sick Children first opened its doors in 1951, and today is Canada’s largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health, staffed with professionals from all disciplines of health care and research. According to Jen, there are a total of 18 operating rooms that conduct more than 12,000 surgeries per year. Last year, SickKids admitted over 16,000 patients, and with this number increasing each year, on rare occasions it is forced to turn families away. In order to construct a new, state-of- the-art building on University Avenue, the upcoming SickKids Vs. Limits campaign will endeavour to raise 1.3 billion dollars, helping the hospital to provide health care to every child in the future.

The CSF has a long history of support towards SickKids, in various areas, most specifically Rheumatology. This honoured the legacy of the late Dr. Hugh Smythe, youngest son of Conn Smythe. Considered a pioneer in the field of rheumatology, Dr. Smythe was an accomplished man who among other things, dedicated his life to the study and treatment of rheumatism.

We are extremely pleased to carry on our tradition of giving to the Hospital for Sick Children. Our pledge will be directed to the suspected child abuse and neglect program (SCAN) and Patient Amenities. The SCAN program helps hundreds of SickKids children who have endured abuse. As the Patient Amenities Fund is a resource to help prevent financial needs further compromising a child’s health, those patients referred to SCAN may have further requirements such as travel expenses, alternative child care, and relocation expenses. Thank you to Jen Ashcroft of SickKids Foundation, for enlightening us on the extraordinary goals they aim to achieve. If you wish to learn more about the scope of the fundraising campaign, please visit

Wellspring Cancer Support Network:

The CSF met with Victoria Scullion, a representative on behalf of the Wellspring Cancer Support Network. Wellspring first opened its doors in Toronto in 1992 as the Coach House, and today has grown to eight centres across Canada. Their mission is to create the best programs to meet the psychological, emotional, and educational needs of individuals and families living with cancer, and to deliver those programs to people in Canada. Their services are free, with no referral needed, and they received over 40,000 visitors last year. A large percentage of cancer patients can also experience anxiety, pain, financial worries, feelings of isolation and guilt, and other non-medical consequences in addition to receiving treatment for the disease. Victoria shared that 1/3 of all cancer patients are in their “working” age, which can create financial stress to the family. Wellspring offers over 40 different programs designed to help each person’s specific needs to manage stress, restore their health, and take an active role in improving their quality of life. The CSF has pledged to support the Wellspring Cancer Support Network, with our donation directed to their Cancer Exercise program, which is for Wellspring members at any stage of their treatment. Thank you to Victoria for visiting us and answering our questions during the meeting.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital:

The Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has an over 100 year history in Toronto, and has evolved through major changes over those years with many locations and name changes. Over 7,000 children come through their doors each year, making it Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital focused on improving the lives of kids with disabilities. Their mission is to provide specialized programs and clinical care for children and youth with complex care needs to enable them to participate in life to the fullest. Conn Smythe was heavily involved with the hospital, then known as the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre, and his philanthropic involvement carried over to his grandson, Tom Smythe, a long-time loyal donor to Holland Bloorview. The CSF is proud to renew this longstanding historical bond with Holland Bloorview in 2017. Our donation will be towards their Weekend Respite day program. Respite care is a family support service providing temporary relief from the physical and emotional demands involved in caring for a child’s disability.

Eva’s Initiatives:

Eva’s Initiatives for homeless youth first opened in 1994, after community outreach worker, Eva Smith, noticed a rising trend of homeless youth in her home community of North York. Fast forward to today, Eva’s Initiatives has three separate facilities providing shelter, food, 24/7 crisis support, and essentials for living for 123 homeless youth aged 16-24 every night. Their mission is to work collaboratively with homeless and at risk youth to reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives.

Their primary goals are to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness. Eva’s Initiatives as an organization that the CSF has supported in the past, and we are extremely happy to renew our support for them.

Casey House, Kids Up Front:

Finally, after review and discussion amongst Foundation Members, we have unanimously agreed to carry forward into 2017 continued support of Casey House, and Kids Up Front. Both have been highlighted in our 2016 newsletters. Please look for our year end newsletter in December for our updates on news, progress, and successes achieved by Casey House, and Kids Up Front on their initiatives supported by the Conn Smythe Foundation.

Thank you for reading our summer 2017 newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact us via our webpage should you wish to submit a request for funding and you believe the Conn Smythe Foundation is the right charitable body for your organization or idea. On behalf of all of us at the Conn Smythe Foundation, we wish you a safe, healthy, and productive summer.