$3 million to hospital foundation

Spencer Family Trust gives the Foundation its largest donation ever

SPHF Executive Director Karen Morgan says the $3 million donation from the Spencer Family Trust will go a long way.

Patients of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital’s acute care services will be the beneficiaries of the largest donation ever made to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation (SPHF).

The trustees of the Spencer Family Trust have donated $3 million to the Foundation — the largest gift received in its 30-year history — in memory of Will Spencer, businessman and son of Victoria entrepreneur David Spencer and father of painter Myfanwy Pavelic.

“This was the work of the trustees of the Spencer Family Trust,” says Karen Morgan, executive director of the SPHF. “The gift is specifically designated to support the hospital’s acute care services.”

Morgan said the Spencer family, which had a home on the Peninsula (Spencerwood) dating back to the 1920s, had a strong relationship with the hospital and valued its services greatly.

“This is a truly transformational gift; one that we will use to ensure that our Acute Care Unit is as modern and efficient as our state-of-the-art Operating Rooms and PARR,” said SPHF President Gordon Benn.

Morgan added the gift will allow the Foundation to do something major for the hospital itself.

What that will be, she added, is still in the works following the donation made on Friday, Feb. 28. She said it would go towards one large project in acute care services, or help pay for a variety of needed equipment. The Foundation’s board is working out the details.

They will do that in conjunction with staff at the hospital itself and with Island Health (formerly the Vancouver Island Health Authority).

The Spencer family got its start, Morgan said, with patriarch David, who came to Victoria during the B.C. Gold Rush. He founded a retail chain of stores in the 1870s and had a large family — including his son, Will. It was Will who purchased Spencerwood on the Saanich Peninsula and who established the family trust. He made arrangements that, at the end of the family line, a major gift would be made to the community. Donations from the family over the years include the home of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and a tuberculosis ward at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Will’s daughter, Myfanwy Pavelic, had also made many donations in the community before he own death in 2007.

Morgan said with the death of her daughter Tessa, the Spencer family line came to an end.

“It was an easy decision for us to make”, said Trustee Dr. Patric Walsh. “The Spencer family used the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and valued its services.

“This gift will be used to support and grow the acute care services at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, which provide such important care to members of our community.”

This large donation, while it helps the hospital in a big way, will not go towards the SPHF’s current fundraising campaign, Morgan added.

To date, the Foundation has brought in more than $1.2 million to help purchase a new CT scanner. That campaign, Morgan said, is ongoing.

“We’re a significant way along to reaching our goal.”