McConnell Foundation continues its legacy of supporting McGill students


$20-million gift provides $17 million in challenge funds to augment others’ donations to Campaign McGill

As McGill prepares to welcome its alumni and parents back to its two campuses for Homecoming 2008 and the second annual Parents Weekend, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has made history again with a $20-million gift to support the student experience at McGill.

This latest gift from The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation – which has donated more than $120-million to McGill since the Foundation’s establishment in 1937 – comes on the eve of the first anniversary of Campaign McGill. Publicly launched on Oct. 18, 2007, this historic drive seeks to raise the funds needed to attract and retain the world’s best students and faculty, increase access to quality education and enhance McGill’s ability to address critical global challenges. To date, more than $440 million has been raised toward the $750-million goal.

The Foundation’s new gift will support both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as create five new faculty chairs in key areas such as civil society. The gift is also notable in that $17 million is designated as a challenge fund, to match gifts from new donors and/or to encourage supporters to make gifts at higher levels than they might otherwise be able to make.

“The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s extraordinary legacy at McGill is truly breathtaking and deeply appreciated. For more than 70 years, the Foundation has funded our research, medical facilities, libraries, buildings, nature preserves and, most important, our people,” McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said. “The challenge funds offered through this new gift will provide powerful incentives for our alumni and friends to target their largest possible donations to key priorities, including support for the student experience.”

“The Foundation has a long tradition and a deep interest in supporting students, through scholarships and fellowships,” said Tim Brodhead, President and CEO of The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. “This gift carries on that tradition, and it represents our profound faith in McGill as one of Canada’s premier post-secondary institutions.”

The gift will provide $13 million in endowed funds for a variety of important student needs, such as undergraduate student advising, student internships and field experiences, as well as undergraduate and graduate student support. (Gifts from individuals and family foundations may be matched on a 1:1 basis for these categories.)

The remaining $7 million of the gift will endow five new distinguished faculty chairs: The Katharine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society, in memory of a long-time staff member of the McConnell Foundation; two further chairs in the study of civil society; and two chairs in other areas of priority to the university. (Gifts from individuals and family foundations may be matched on a 1:2 basis for the four unnamed chairs.)

Established in 1937, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is a private family foundation that funds initiatives of national significance. Created by John Wilson McConnell, one of McGill’s greatest benefactors and its first Governor Emeritus, the Foundation has supported a wide array of McGill causes: student aid, teaching, research, medicine, libraries, residences, museums, concert halls, athletic facilities and nature preserves, to name a few. Well over 25,000 scholarships, fellowships, bursaries and awards have been granted through the Foundation’s support, making it the single largest supporter of student achievement at McGill.

For more information on The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, visit

For more information on Campaign McGill, visit

Contact Information

Isabelle Roy
Development Strategy
isabelle.roy [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398-4379