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Celebrating the Carolyn Sifton Foundation

December 21, 2023

Acting on a passion for excellence

ay Martin and Graeme Sifton: “It’s clear that donors have to support this campaign and the Carolyn Sifton Foundation is proud to contribute,” says Graeme Sifton.

As President of the Carolyn Sifton Foundation, Graeme Sifton has developed a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by Canadian health care systems.

“Governments are positioned to fund the operation of our hospitals,” says Sifton, the nephew of the late Carolyn Sifton, “but to achieve the highest possible levels of excellence, philanthropy has an important role to play.”

That observation—along with some recent family experiences at HSC—inspired Sifton, his husband Jay Martin (who serves as Secretary of the Carolyn Sifton Foundation), and their Board to support recent initiatives of the HSC Foundation.

They have supported the campaign for the development of the state-of-the-art Manitoba Urologic Centre; a campaign to upgrade equipment for emergency gynecological surgery; and, most recently, the HSC Foundation’s transformational Operation Excellence initiative—a campaign to refocus and revitalize HSC as a surgical centre of excellence and innovation.

Sifton and Martin’s daughter-in-law Alisha, who works as a radiologist, received outstanding care at HSC after being diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus; and their daughter Micah and grandson James were well cared for at HSC Women’s Hospital after a complicated birth a couple of years ago.

“James had a little bit of a rough entry and he had to spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit,” says Sifton. “He and Micah got great care and are doing very well today.”

It was a meeting with HSC Foundation officials and HSC Surgery Site Director, Dr. Edward Buchel, that inspired them to support Operation Excellence. “Dr. Buchel helped us understand how HSC needed to accelerate the acquisition of new, minimally invasive equipment and upgrade spaces at the hospital to keep pace with the latest developments in health care,” says Sifton. “It’s clear that donors have to support this campaign and the Carolyn Sifton Foundation is proud to contribute.”

Carolyn Sifton set up the Foundation in her estate, and then passed away in 1975 at the age of 47. Graeme Sifton joined the Board in 1979. The Foundation grew significantly in 1980 when the Sifton family sold its newspaper business, including the Winnipeg Free Press. Since inception, the Carolyn Sifton Foundation has distributed roughly $30 million in grants. Grants are currently awarded to organizations and initiatives in Winnipeg and Brockville, two places where Carolyn Sifton lived.

Sifton believes that his late Aunt Carolyn would have supported these gifts to the HSC Foundation: “She was a kind, generous, and community-minded woman.”