John Rae has been operating behind the scenes supporting many community organizations and individuals in Montreal for more than four decades. Now, his longstanding commitment to philanthropy is being recognized by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). Rae has been named a 2018 recipient of The Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Community Service Award.
The importance of giving back to the community was instilled in Rae early on. He grew up in a close-knit family devoted to public service, and which encouraged active engagement. His ability to bring people together includes many causes, including politics, education, music and the arts, athletics, social services, youth and healthcare.
Rae was Chair of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)’s Best Care for Life (BCFL) campaign for 13 years. The campaign supported the MUHC’s project to construct a new state-of-the-art hospital, as well as renovations to existing hospitals. The MUHC’s Glen site has brought together pediatric and adult care with research in one location – a first in Canada.
Deeply involved in a comprehensive strategy to meet the BCFL’s $300 million objective, the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in the hospital’s history, Rae dedicated countless hours to planning each phase of the campaign. He coordinated regular campaign meetings and built one of the most respected groups of volunteer cabinet members to reach the campaign’s objectives.
Rae believes that “if you are going to raise money, you have to start by giving your own money.” He and his wife Phyllis were major donors to BCFL and he successfully secured a number of the campaign’s largest multimillion dollar corporate donations, which was part of a joint corporate campaign with the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM).
“John Rae’s tremendous leadership has made it possible to achieve our goal to build one of the country’s leading research hospitals,” says Julie Quenneville, MUHC Foundation President. “We are forever grateful to him and we want to congratulate him on this honour.”
Rae’s desire to help others comes in many forms. After attending his first performance of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Rae and a friend purchased new uniforms for choir members. That simple act of generosity launched a longstanding relationship with the choir and its founder and director Dr. Trevor Payne. Rae has also been an advocate for the homeless, helping to support the Old Brewery Mission and La Rue des Femmes through fundraising and other initiatives.
Rae retired from Power Corporation of Canada at the end of 2016, where he served as Executive Vice-President. He was named to the Order of Canada in 2006.
Rae’s philanthropy, hard work and dedication have helped to improve healthcare for all Quebecers in an important way.
The 2018 Goldbloom Awards will be held in Montreal on November 1.