Peter Gilgan Foundation Responds to COVID-19

July 7, 2020

In response to the devastating challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, the Peter Gilgan Foundation donated $4.826 million in three phases. The phases aimed to: 

  • increase COVID testing; 
  • help address food insecurity; and 
  • support community-based organizations to meet their immediate needs.

Phase 1: Research and React

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario struggled to reach the desired levels of testing, a critical tool to understand and manage the disease. The Peter Gilgan Foundation donated $3.276 million to St. Michael’s Hospital to purchase a Perkin Elmer Chemagic Extractor testing machine and reagent material, enabling the hospital to significantly increase the number of tests processed each day.

In addition, St. Mike’s leveraged the funds in an impressive matching campaign, raising a further $11 million.

Phase 2: Relief

As the economic turmoil continued to unfold through March and April 2020, countless Canadians were suddenly facing severe food insecurity. Food banks saw an increase in demand between 40% and 60%.

The Peter Gilgan Foundation responded with a $900,000 donation across seven best-in-class food banks in Ontario and Alberta. The funding was completely unrestricted, allowing organizations to put it toward whatever they deemed a priority. This meant that some funding was used to purchase food, some for emergency infrastructure and distribution, and some to avoid staff layoffs. 

Several recipients also launched successful matching campaigns.

Phase 3: Rebuild

Many community-based charities faced, and continue to face, significant drops in fundraising revenue as a result of the COVID crisis. These organizations will be essential to help their communities rebuild and recover. 

The Peter Gilgan Foundation donated $650,000 across 41 community-based charities in June 2020. We recognize that the social and economic consequences of COVID-19 disproportionately affect youth, women, Indigenous peoples, and racialized communities. Therefore, phase 3 funding was provided with no-strings-attached to organizations both serving and led by these groups.