Foundation Magazine sits down for a Q&A with Julie Quenneville. Here’s the conversation.

In your experience, what motivates donors to choose the foundation for their philanthropy, especially for legacy gifts?

In my experience, donors choose UHN Foundation for a few key reasons. Firstly, they believe in our mission—it aligns with their values. Then there’s the impact—they see the difference we’re making and want to be part of it. Plus, transparency and accountability matter—they want to know their money is being used well. Many times, people choose a cause that has played a role in their lives. UHN is the #1 hospital in Canada and the home of so many incredible life-saving technologies, world-leading doctors and the most incredible patient care, so it becomes a natural choice for legacy gifts.

Many Canadians, at some point in their lives, will have an experience at UHN; either for themselves or with a loved one, and including a legacy gift is a way to honour their care teams and guarantee UHN is able to continue saving lives in the future. They see a gift to us as a way to leave a lasting impact on healthcare. It’s all about trust, connection, and making a difference that lasts.

How does the foundation engage with potential and current donors to build long-lasting relationships and encourage legacy giving?

Building lasting connections with donors is vital for UHN’s mission to change the status quo of healthcare. We believe in personalized communication. Tailoring our messages to each donor’s interests and preferences, we aim to keep them updated on our projects, share success stories, and express gratitude through phone calls, emails, and face-to-face meetings.

Stewardship events are also a great way to connect. These events allow donors to engage with our team, learn more about our work, and see the impact of their support firsthand, fostering personal connections and a deeper understanding. UHN is the number one hospital in Canada, and undertakes a myriad of ground-breaking research, bringing new treatments and cures from “research bench to patient bedside”. Donors trust that when they leave a legacy gift to UHN, their gift will be used wisely and carefully, respecting the aspiration of the donor to help transform healthcare.

We’re passionate about legacy giving, but we also understand that it’s not a decision that anyone would make lightly. We provide information on estate planning options and encourage our donors to speak to their financial planners and their families before making any decisions. We also highlight all of the incredible things that UHN has done through donor support, encouraging donors to consider their legacy and how they could make a difference for the next generation of patients.

What advice would you give to someone considering making a donation or a legacy gift to the foundation?

Firstly, remember that every contribution, regardless of its size, plays a pivotal role in advancing UHN’s mission to change the status quo of health care. Your support serves as a beacon of hope and healing, leaving a profound and lasting impact on those we serve.

Picture the transformative potential of your donation. As a leader in medical innovation and research, UHN relies on philanthropic support to drive breakthrough discoveries. Your legacy gift has the power to catalyze significant advancements in health care for years to come.

Further, your donation is a reflection of your values and vision for a better future. It symbolizes a commitment to compassion, generosity, and the betterment of society.

No one ever changed the world on their own, and with a legacy gift, you are joined with a community of changemakers united by a shared commitment to making a difference. By joining forces with UHN Foundation, you join a network of compassionate individuals who believe in the power of collective action to drive positive change. When we are UHNITED, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone.

And leaving a legacy gift is much easier than many people realize. Wills can easily be updated, or you can leave a portion of an RRSP or life insurance policy simply by including UHN on a beneficiary designation form.

Lastly, I encourage you to engage in open dialogue with your family about your philanthropic aspirations. Sharing your intentions and discussing the impact you wish to make can foster unity and support, amplifying the significance of your contribution.

Your decision to leave a legacy gift to UHN Foundation is not merely a financial transaction—it’s an investment in the future of health care. Together, we can forge a path towards progress, leaving a legacy that resonates for generations to come.

How have trends in philanthropy and donor preferences evolved in recent years? What strategies is the foundation implementing to adapt to these changes?

People want to see real impact from their donations and feel connected to the causes they support. They’re teaming up more, investing for social good, and prioritizing diversity and inclusion.

To keep up, we’re focusing on outcomes, personalizing donor engagement, collaborating with others, exploring impact investing, and committing to diversity and equity.

In short, we’re adapting to these shifts, staying true to our mission, and working to make a positive difference in the world.

From your perspective, what has been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of advancing the foundation’s mission?

From my perspective, the most rewarding part of my role is witnessing the tangible impact of our work on patients. Seeing the lives that have been improved, the breakthroughs that have been achieved, and the hope that has been restored is incredibly fulfilling. Knowing that our efforts are making a real difference in the world is what drives us forward every day.

Health care is a multifaceted and ever-evolving field, with numerous challenges and obstacles to overcome. Additionally, the philanthropic landscape is constantly changing, with shifting donor preferences, economic factors, and societal trends to consider. Balancing these factors while staying true to our mission and effectively addressing the needs of our patients, researchers, doctors and team requires careful strategic planning, adaptability, and resilience.

Despite these challenges, the opportunity to make a positive impact in healthcare and improve the lives of others makes every effort worthwhile. The sense of fulfillment that comes from advancing the UHN Foundation’s mission and seeing the transformative effects of our work far outweighs any challenges we may face along the way.

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