Telethon is gone but the kids are still here. How hospitals have changed the way they fund raise

Posted on May 27, 2020 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Consider it a perfect storm: at the same time that Covid-19 has healthcare workers and supplies more in demand — and their capacity stretched further — than ever before, it also forced hospitals to cancel their biggest fundraising initiative of the year: the annual telethon.

The silver lining is a new, groundbreaking initiative by hospitals across Canada called The Frontline Fund.

It’s a national coalition of more than 100 hospitals and foundations working together to raise urgently needed funds in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information or to make a donation, visit

It was inspired by Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, when he made a $2.5 million gift on behalf of the company to help hospitals in Canada respond to the needs created by Covid-19. This served as a catalyst for several hospital foundations to come together to plan a national effort to raise funds from individuals and corporations to help front line healthcare workers.

According to an official statement, monies raised by The Frontline Fund will support:

  • Supplies (personal protective equipment like masks, disinfectants, and disposable clothing; ventilators, diagnostic and testing equipment, digital infrastructure needed to enable virtual patient care);
  • Supports (Peer-to-peer mental health support, counselling, accommodation and food for healthcare workers that need to self isolate, recognition and appreciation initiatives);
  • Research (Support for clinical and basic research, COVID-19 clinical trials, and vaccine development).

Jennifer Gillivan is the president and CEO of the IWK Foundation as well as the Eastern Canada spokesperson for The Frontline Fund. Gillivan says that funds raised locally will stay local. “Funds given by donors in a province will stay in that province,” she says.

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