June 23rd, 2024

CRH receives bequest for cardiac care from Cor Van Raay estate

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on October 27, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Cor Van Raay cared about people and community. And The Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation recently was given what it calls a transformative bequest from the late philanthropist’s estate.
The bequest, which Van Raay left in his will to the foundation, will directly support cardiac care services at the hospital.
The amount of the bequest is private.
Shonna Lamb, development officer for the CRHF, said “Cor’s been a supporter of ours for many, many years.”
“His reach and his impact in the community and all of southern Alberta is so evident,” Lamb said.
“We’re humbled and we’re so proud to accept the gift,” she added.
“It’s a significant gift, we call it transformational in fundraising. It’s restricted to cardiac sciences within the Chinook Regional Hospital; that’s an area that affects a lot of people in the community.”
The bequest will support work involving the heart and people who are treated and visit the hospital in that area, Lamb said.
The donation is called a “restricted gift” which means it’s allocated to a certain area.
Colleen Mackey, Van Raay’s daughter, told The Herald “my dad did struggle with some heart issues in his later years. Ultimately, he needed to get a heart valve replaced and he just had continuing heart problems in his later years.
“He had really great experiences with the physicians in Lethbridge yet their capacity to do things in Lethbridge was limited. And I think for him there was always some sense of “could we do something? Is there some way I can help here?’ because he ended up going to Calgary for so many procedures,” said Mackey.
“He just kind of felt like ‘if there is something I can do to help because I could see where there’s a real need in Lethbridge.'”
Mackey said her dad always felt he wanted to do something.
“He did put a bequest in as part of his estate that he wanted to contribute to some cardiac, either research, development or care that could be available in Lethbridge,” Mackey added.
“He also had over the years been really supportive of the Lethbridge hospital foundation. It was a really near and dear charity. He loved the Christmas tree campaign and things like that,” Mackey said.
” A big part of it is there’s some great doctors and there are limitations as to what they can do in Lethbridge and wouldn’t it be great if Lethbridge can have something bigger and better. Cardiac care is a big thing. It’s not something the hospital can step in lightly. There’s huge costs to that over time.”
“Sometimes it takes that initial seed to get something growing and hopefully I think that would be his intent – if something came of that, that would have been something very valuable and important to him.”
In a media statement, Allan Bartolcic, the executive director of CRHF, said “receiving this monumental bequest from Mr. Cor Van Raay fills us with profound gratitude. His relentless support for local initiatives has been a source of inspiration. With his gift, our Foundation will further its mission of touching the lives of Southern Albertans in profound ways.”
The foundation says “the significance of this bequest will reverberate throughout our community, influencing innumerable lives and fostering further advancement in our programs, services, and facilities.”
Mackey’s dad died at CRH in July of 2021, leaving a long legacy of philanthropy as part of his legacy.
He supported many endeavours in southern Alberta including the YMCA which now bears his name in West Lethbridge. In 2018, he donated $3.75 million to the YMCA.
He also supported such initiatives as the Legion poppy campaign, the Angel Tree campaign to make sure needy kids were getting Christmas gifts and the Ready Set Go program which provided children with school supplies.
He also was a supporter of the 15-kilometre recreational corridor which will link Lethbridge to Coaldale – the Cor Van Raay Link Pathway.
Van Raay also donated $5 million to the Lethbridge College/University of Lethbridge Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness program and created a U of L Faculty of Management scholarship in Christine’s name.
Other recipients of his generosity include the Lethbridge Food Bank, Chinook Regional Hospital, St. Michael’s Health Centre, Helen Schuler Nature Centre and pools in Picture Butte and Outlook, Sask. where he started a grain farm.
In October 2020, the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta established the Cor Van Raay Endowment Fund.

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