Members of the St Dunstan’s University (SDU) Board of Governors travelled to West Prince last week to deliver the first installments of a significant donation to the two hospital foundations in the region.

In 2019, the SDU Board of Governors is celebrating 50 years of being a charitable foundation, supporting Catholic education, the Diocese of Charlottetown and worthwhile project in PEI over the last five decades.

“With our 50th anniversary we were looking to mark the occasion with a special project and what we decided on, after considering many possibilities, is we would try and support Island hospitals right across the Island,” explained Charles Keliher.

Spread out amongst the province’s six hospitals, the board of governors has pledged to donate the sum of $500,000 to these facility’s health foundations, to be paid out through installments over the next three years. Charlottetown’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital is to receive $250,000, Summerside’s Prince Country Hospital $100,000 and $37,500 will be donated to Western Hospital, O’Leary Community Hospital, Souris Hospital and Kings County Memorial Hospital.

“We wanted a project that will probably have the most impact and effect on as many Islanders as possible,” said Mr Keliher. “We can assume that all Islanders benefit from hospitals within their region. We felt this way, at least indirectly, we could touch as many people as possible and we wanted it to be from tip to tip.”

On Sept. 5, Mr Keliher, along with fellow board member Leonard Cusack, visited Western Hospital in the morning and then O’Leary Community Hospital in the afternoon.

By making the donations to the hospitals’ health foundations, the money will be spent on purchasing must needed medical equipment at both facilities.

“They’ve expressed their need for the money and the great use they could put this money towards and the need for equipment,” said Mr Keliher of the Western Hospital Foundation. “We’re happy to contribute the continuing progress of this hospital.”

For about 100 years, St Dunstan’s University operated as a private institution in Charlottetown, receiving no public money, operating on tuition fees and what could be raised by local Catholic parishes as donations. With the formation of University of Prince Edward Island in 1969, the SDU then transitioned into a charitable organization.

“When we wanted to give something back to the community, we wanted to thank people for what they did over that 115 years or so, because all across the Island, people put in money to the university,” explained Mr Cusack, who is writing a book on the history of the SDU. “Some didn’t have that much money to put in, but they put it in anyway... So this kind of a little paid back.”

Chair of Western Hospital Foundation David McKenna said they are very excited to receive the donation.

“Any money you don’t have to go after, that comes to us, is a benefit,” he said.

Chair of the O’Leary Community Health Foundation Eva Rodgerson told the gentlemen that the dollars will be well used.

“I think this is tremendous,” she said. “Where better could you invest your money than in healthcare because we’re all touched by it at some point.”

This type of donation is a new venture for SDU Board of Governors.

“I think it’s worked out well for us,” said Mr Cusack. “The hospitals really seem to appreciate the money.”

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