Elspeth McConnell grew up during the depression, and worked as a journalist in Montreal as a young woman.

Elspeth McConnell was the visionary force behind the Doggone Foundation. The Doggone Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and other Montreal institutions for many years. Last year, the foundation gave a landmark $15 million in support of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4), and recently donated a joint gift of $1 million to the MUHC and McGill University to further advance nursing education.

A lifelong Montrealer, Elspeth believed fiercely in giving back to her community, particularly in the fields of health care, research and education. A former journalist, she also grew to become one of the country’s most avid collectors of Canadian Northwest Coast Indigenous art.

In recognition of her philanthropic legacy, the MUHC Foundation held a cocktail celebration on November 14 in the Elspeth McConnell Atrium, named after the philanthropist, at the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC). During the intimate reception, there was an unveiling of a video tribute to Elspeth shot by Matthias Arroyo-Bégin and produced by Max Holzberg and Siam Obregón, Film Production students from Concordia University, an institution which the Doggone Foundation also proudly supports.


“It was an incredible privilege to work closely with the Doggone Foundation and Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts and to meet so many interesting practitioners and conservators who have dedicated their lives to the practice of Northwest Coast art, and of course to learn so much about Elspeth’s fascinating world and the beautiful legacy that she leaves behind,” says Max Holzberg.

Elspeth built a formidable collection of art that highlighted her knowledge and commitment to First Nations art and artists. In 2011, Elspeth established the Doggone Foundation to emulate the philanthropic work in medical care, research and education begun by her father-in-law, the late J.W. McConnell.

True to Elspeth’s vision, the Doggone Foundation continues to be a generous supporter of the MUHC through the MUHC Foundation, having made significant contributions in the areas of cardiology, ovarian cancer, vascular surgery, and complex care, among others.

Elspeth passed away in August of 2017, but her legacy and vision for making her community a better place continues to this day through the Doggone Foundation and its Board of Directors.

“When Elspeth McConnell started this foundation, it was in large part to help Montreal achieve and maintain world-class status in scientific and medical excellence,” says Paul R. Marchand, President and Executive Director of the Doggone Foundation. “Her legacy lives on in the innovative and cutting-edge work happening at the MUHC every day.”

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