A Message from the Executive Director, Wendy King

It’s hard to believe that the crispness of fall is in the air yet again. It’s a time where we throw on our sweaters and wrap ourselves in the warmth of the season and relish all those sweet comforts of home. 

At Canterbury Foundation, it’s that feeling of home that we’ve hung onto through these past many months. While 2020 has thrown many challenges our way, we’ve leaned into one another and grown as a family of residents and staff. We turned to our residents for words of wisdom and inspiration. Our seniors who call Canterbury home, have seen hard times, they’ve lived through recessions, the Depression and times of turmoil. Their words of encouragement, resilience and strength inspire all of us to continue to put one foot in front of the other and do the hard work we’re so honoured to do, of protecting each other and keeping everyone safe.

COVID-19 has opened the country’s eyes to the need to improve senior care not just in Canada, but around the world. It has shone a light on the cracks in the system and made us sit up and take notice of how we as a society must do better to protect and value our seniors. They are our parents, our grandparents, our Veterans, and our valuable historical record of our past. And one day, they will be us.

Even before COVID-19, Canterbury Foundation has been working hard to improve on our Promise of Home. We have partnered with the University of Alberta who have worked with us to design a care centre that will truly allow for enhanced quality of life for all our seniors, but specifically those living with dementia. We know that 46, 000 Albertans are living with dementia and 40% of them are over the age of 85. Canterbury’s project coupled with the University of Alberta’s research, will be used to enhance senior care for all seniors living with dementia, not just here at home, but around the world. Our 42 million dollar expansion and renovation will introduce larger more modern suites, end-of-life care, 53 new dementia care suites and a community outreach program for seniors living in the surrounding neighbourhoods. By the time our Capital Project is finished, Canterbury will have one of the best Senior Care Centres in the world. That is truly something we are proud of.

While we’ve been isolating behind closed doors since March, we’ve been able to watch our vision be built brick-by-brick right outside our windows, thanks to the incredible work of our corporate partner, Stuart Olson. We are so thankful for their love and support of Canterbury. Without them we would not have been able to weather the storm of COVID-19 or have a new bright and World Class expansion to look forward to. We are truly grateful. 

We are half-way through our Capital Campaign to see this dream become reality. But we need philanthropic support to continue. Canterbury Foundation is a not-for-profit organization and we receive very little government support for the exceptional care we provide our seniors. Our work can only be done with the support of our donors. 

This is why we have used the time provided by this year, to refocus our efforts to expand our donor community. We now have a brand new fund development consultant, Margo Buckley, who is passionate about people and our community. You may have met her at our front reception area the last few months, where she has been working to get to know everyone who walks in our doors at Canterbury. She is helping us build more connected and inspired relationships with our families, our staff, our corporate community and private donors. We want everyone to feel like they can play an important part in supporting the well-being of our seniors in a way that’s manageable and meaningful for each and every donor. Small or large, all gifts are precious and support our vision, mission and values. 

And so begins the first edition of Canterbury Gratitudes. Inside these pages you will find stories of philanthropy, bringing our vision, mission and values to life – sharing the impact of every ounce of time, talent or treasure our family of donors have given. Like the story of Margot Byers, who recently contributed a gift of $10,000 to our forthcoming hospice, in memory of her late mother, Jean Coglon. It’s gifts like these and others that Canterbury Foundation, as a not-for-profit organization, could not continue to provide the Promise of Home without them. We are so thankful to Margot Byers and all our donors who value the work we do.

You’ll also get a chance in this first edition, to meet one of Canterbury’s strongest allies against COVID-19. Afia Gyan is Canterbury’s Staff Educator. She has trained hundreds of staff how to do their best job under the ever-changing protocols of COVID-19. But outside her role, she has been a compassionate force and has delivered calm and guidance at a time of uncertainty. We have the tireless efforts of Afia and our staff to thank for their fearless determination to keep our residents safe. 

There is nothing but bright days ahead as we look forward to the opening of our new expansion. And we will continue to reflect on how we can provide the most value to our donors and partners by delivering the best care to our community’s most precision resource: our seniors. We hope you enjoy these philanthropic stories and moments we’ve gathered to help us reflect on this past year and we hope you’ll be inspired to make Canterbury a place where you can find meaning and impact in every dollar that is given.

From the words of one of our residents, Tom Houlihan, who unexpectedly passed away this year, “Stay strong, stay resilient, stay happy and keep smiling.” Tom Houlihan, Canterbury resident.

God Bless,

Wendy King, Executive Director of Canterbury Foundation