2013 Award for Outstanding Philanthropist: Leslie and Irene Dubé
Nominated by the University of Saskatchewan and the AFP Saskatoon Chapter
Leslie and Irene Dubé are an inspiring example for business and charitable leadership in Saskatoon and around the world through their entrepreneurial spirit, community service and philanthropy.
In 1993, the Dubés froze their estate, deciding at that point to focus on philanthropy and donate money accumulated from their business interests to the important causes they supported—notably health, education, religion, and poverty both at home and internationally. Over the past decade, they have contributed more than $30 million to a number of important programs and initiatives.
In 2011, the Dubés made a $10 million donation to the University of Saskatchewan Health Sciences Project, which brings together students and researchers from across the health sciences disciplines in a state-of-the-art collaborative facility that will lead to huge innovations in healthcare research. They have also given million dollar gifts to other healthcare facilities, including St. Paul’s Hospital (for a new wing, urology support center and MRI machines); the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan (a leadership gift to create the first children’s hospital in the province); Saskatoon City Hospital (a breast health centre named after them); Royal University Hospital (the Leslie and Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health) and several others.
The Dubés have made several gifts to the St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan, including 18 bursaries and scholarships ($2,000 each) for students who have to relocate in order to attend the university. They have also given $1 million for a Community Service Learning Program that encourages combined community service and classroom experience, and another $1 million to establish a Chair in Catholic Studies.
Among many other organizations the Dubés have supported include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, a $1 million donation toward the construction of a new cathedral, the Lighthouse Supported Living and the Ronald McDonald House Saskatchewan.
But apart from the many gifts, the Dubés have shown time and time again they are extraordinary philanthropists by the things they do for many different people and causes. Every Christmas, they donate a trailer load of oranges and apples to the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre through their produce company. They also cover the costs of Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving dinners at the Saskatoon Friendship Inn, a facility for the homeless. Irene Dubé’s community service includes taking in young, pregnant unwed mothers whose parents would not allow them to live at home and provide them with warm and loving home environments until their babies are born.
In the past, the Dubés didn’t want recognition for their gifts and gave anonymously, but now take more public roles so as to inspire others to get involved. They also lend their names to projects of particular importance so that they can “encourage others to self-evaluate to respond to the calls,” and encourage challenge initiatives to bring in more donors from the community.
The Dubé’s concern for the well-being of others and the quality of life in their community demonstrates true empathy, and countless individuals have been enriched by their philanthropy. AFP is proud to present the 2013 Award for Outstanding Philanthropist to Leslie and Irene Dubé.
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