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Ahead by a century: The story behind the donation

Ahead by a century: The story behind the donation GRHF story Ahead by a century: The story behind the donation GRHF story

On May 7, 2020, Equitable Life of Canada formally announced a $4.5 million gift to Grand River Hospital for a new MRI scanner. It’s an unprecedented, incredibly impactful gift the entire community will benefit from. Here’s the story behind the gift.

Equitable Life of Canada began in the 1920, post-war economy that saw an increase in agriculture, food production and manufacturing in the Region. The company weathered the “dirty thirties,” the next war and the boom of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. It rode the ‘80s bust, the ‘90s recovery and the recession of the early 2000s. It has grown to over 750 employees and shifted from paper to digital. It has moved from a second-story, street-front office in Waterloo to a stately building on Westmount Road. And here we are – a century later.

While many things have changed in one hundred years, Equitable has kept its strong, unique culture.

“We’ve always been community focused. It’s part of our values, of what we believe in: doing the right thing, jumping in to lend a hand,” says Ronald Beettam, President and CEO since 2005. “Our employees are very engaged, and we try to be a good corporate citizen.” Equitable has been named one of Waterloo area’s top employers for 13 consecutive years and has seen significant growth in assets and market position over the last five years.

We’ve always been community focused. It’s part of our values, of what we believe in: doing the right thing, jumping in to lend a hand. Our employees are very engaged, and we try to be a good corporate citizen.

Ronald Beettam
President and CEO, Equitable Life of Canada
Equitable Life of Canada 100
A culture of community engagement

Equitable walks that talk. In 2019 alone, the company and its employees donated over $400K and its employees gave an impressive 1,700 hours to community initiatives. So, when Equitable began to make plans for its centennial, discussion of how to give back was naturally part of the equation. “We were looking for a project that fit,” says Mr. Beettam. “Something that would have a material impact on the community, and a meaningful impact for our employees too who all work and live here. Health care is at the very core of our community and many people will need at least one MRI in their lifetime, so it made perfect sense. This gift goes beyond the normal boundaries of what we’ve done in the past and puts an exclamation mark on our 100th year.”

One of Equitable’s executives knew that Grand River Hospital needed a new MRI scanner and the rest is – as they say – is history.

Meeting a community need

The current MRI scanner at Grand River Hospital serves a regional population of more than 700,000 people, performs approximately 17,000 scans in a year and was installed in 2003. A new, state-of-the art MRI scanner will benefit the hospital, health care providers and most importantly patients.

Equitable is also providing an additional $100,000 to be directed towards Region Ready – a joint fund that supports all Waterloo Region hospitals in their preparedness to COVID-19.

“We are incredibly grateful for Equitable Life’s generous donation to support health care in Waterloo Region” said Ron Gagnon, President and CEO, Grand River Hospital. “In addition to ensuring that our hospitals are well equipped to respond to COVID-19 demands, Equitable Life has also made a significant contribution to health care that will benefit Waterloo Region residents for years to come.”

This a gift that will touch thousands of lives over the next decade, and it’s a legacy to be proud of.

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