June 28, 2023

$50M gift to power research, education and care at new Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre

The generous Calgarian behind the centre’s new name
Lorne Miller, cancer patient and City of Calgary firefighter, speaks at the gift and naming announcement at the new Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Lorne Miller, cancer patient and City of Calgary firefighter, speaks at the gift and naming announcement. Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services

A historic and transformational $50-million donation to Calgary’s new cancer centre will accelerate research innovations and provide world-leading cancer care and treatment to Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians.

With this donation from the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation, the facility, set to open in 2024, will officially be named the Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre. 

“As an advocate for perpetual advancements in science and specifically medicine, Mr. Child was committed to supporting causes that will make a significant difference through research,” says Lorne Jacobson, LLB’81, vice-chairman and co-founder of TriWest Capital Partners and lead trustee of the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation.

“This $50-million donation closely aligns with Mr. Child’s commitment to accelerate cancer care and research, not only in Alberta, but to help defeat cancer at every level around the world.”

From left: Mauro Chies, Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health for the Government of Alberta, and Lorne Jacobson unveil a portrait of Arthur J.E. Child.

From left: Mauro Chies, Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health for the Government of Alberta, and Lorne Jacobson unveil a portrait of Arthur J.E. Child.

Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services

This donation was made through the OWN.CANCER campaign, a partnership between the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the University of Calgary with the goal of raising $250 million in support of groundbreaking research and leading-edge care for patients. It is the largest gift to cancer care and research in Alberta’s history. The Arthur J.E. Child Foundation has also donated nearly $100 million to a wide variety of charities across the globe, with approximately $9 million in support of projects across various faculties at UCalgary.

“UCalgary’s translational research enterprise is strengthened by the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation’s long-standing commitment to our institution and our province,” says UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley. “This transformational gift to OWN.CANCER will accelerate our learning health model for the cancer centre — one in which researchers work side by side with care teams to dramatically improve outcomes for patients and families.”

The facility will be the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Canada and a world-leading health-care facility for research and education in oncology, delivering fully integrated cancer care under one roof. Its design, made up of two curving L-shaped forms coming together in an embrace, will provide patients, families and staff with a warm, comforting environment that invokes hope and healing. It will house 160 inpatient beds designed for cancer patients and will be home to the world’s most advanced diagnostics, such as the MR Linac which delivers radiation therapy with unprecedented precision.

“With this historic donation from the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation, the Alberta Cancer Foundation will be able to provide educational and research opportunities for those pursuing careers in the medical field, and world-class cancer care for patients navigating cancer treatments,” says Wendy Beauchesne, BA'99, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. “This gift will transform cancer care and research for generations of Albertans and Canadians.”

“AHS is grateful for this generous gift in support of health-care innovation and excellence. The support of philanthropists and our partners helps our teams improve care and care outcomes for all Albertans facing a diagnosis of cancer,” adds Mauro Chies, AHS president and CEO. “We look forward to the innovation, groundbreaking work, and world-class technologies that will be made possible for cancer care in this province, thanks to the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation.”

The man behind the gift

Child, Hon. LLD’84, was a prominent Canadian businessman and Calgarian. In 1913, a young Arthur James Edward Child emigrated from England to Gananoque, Ont., a small town east of Kingston. After high school, he joined the Canadian Officers Training Corps at Queen’s University, sparking a passion for military matters. He would go on to study at Harvard Business School and the University of Toronto.

Child built his career in Canada’s meat-packing industry, climbing the ranks to executive leadership roles. He became president and CEO of Burns Foods in the late 1960s, a position he held for three decades as he led the company to profitability and expansion, eventually becoming the majority shareholder.

He became known both for his financial acumen and his personal philanthropy. After receiving an honorary degree from UCalgary in 1984, Child was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995. He passed away in 1996. To further his legacy, the Arthur J.E. Child Foundation was created to continue his generosity beyond his lifetime.  

Driving research innovation at UCalgary

Here at UCalgary, the foundation supports research and scholarships in medicine, arts, engineering, business and more. The foundation has been a driver in research innovation at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), enabling physicians to pursue advanced training in cardiovascular care beyond the scope of core programs in cardiology and cardiac surgery. Developing these unique skill sets internationally with leading authorities in their chosen field offers these fellows increased expertise in our own communities as they return to use their skills here.

A research team led by the Arthur J.E. Child Rheumatology Chair at CSM is working to create a care system that can better address the medical concerns of people with inflammatory arthritis conditions.

The medical school is not the only area of the university touched by the foundation’s support. Child had a lifelong interest in military matters and history, and the foundation has given generously to advance research at UCalgary’s Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies. The foundation’s scholarships and bursaries enable students to focus on their studies and pursue their dreams. The foundation has also invested in the next generation of business and economics leaders through annual scholarships and supported UCalgary students’ work to bring sustainable energy to remote communities through the Light Up the World club.

“The Arthur J.E. Child Foundation has energized both research and education across UCalgary, and its impact is felt by students, researchers and innovators of all kinds. It has helped fuel our big ideas and, together, we have contributed to a stronger city and society in the process,” says McCauley.

As of June 2023, the OWN.CANCER campaign has raised more than half of its $250-million goal in support of the Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre. UCalgary and its OWN.CANCER partners are grateful to everyone who has provided support.

The OWN.CANCER campaign is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the landscape of cancer research, care and treatment with the goal of raising $250 million in support of Calgary’s new world-class cancer centre, the Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre. This game-changing initiative is backed by three trusted community institutions: Alberta Health Services, Canada’s first and largest fully integrated provincial health system; the University of Calgary, a globally recognized leader in medical research and home to tomorrow’s health-care professionals; and the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the official fundraising partner for all 17 cancer care centres across the province.