A letter to the community from Charles and Margaret Juravinski

We think of ourselves as lucky people. We have enjoyed many opportunities and an uncommon share of good fortune, having lived long lives in this amazing community.

We have worked hard, enjoyed many good times and had the great fortune to meet many fine people in our journey through life.

Our work has brought many rewards that our parents would never have dreamed possible.

Both of us are children of the Depression, and like so many, we grew up knowing true poverty and hardship.

We have never forgotten the humiliation and hardship our parents endured trying to raise their families, at times without any apparent resources at all.

Their example motivated us to bear down and make sacrifices to become financially secure.

Later in life, fortune’s pendulum would swing toward the opposite extreme, and we would realize comfort and security beyond anything we could have imagined as children.

Throughout the better part of our seven decades together, our love for one another has been a steady foundation. We are true partners, each drawing joy, strength and inspiration from the other. Our loyalty and the genuine pleasure we get simply from being together is something we wish everyone could know.

We have weathered ups and downs in business and in our own health, and always emerged together, stronger than before.

Building, managing and eventually selling Flamboro Downs brought us many rewards. We were able to develop a loyal staff team based on mutual trust and respect, and we are grateful for their work and friendship. We were lucky to become intimately involved in the community of horse racing, and to meet so many skilled and caring people there.

It was a priority of ours to make Flamboro Downs a place for everyone to have fun – people of all backgrounds. Above all, we love people, and we recognize that everyday people are the ones who made us successful.

As a couple, our most important lesson has been this: the greatest pleasure in life and the most powerful force for good in the world is sharing.

We were fortunate for the mentorship of successful people here in Hamilton who guided us to this realization, both by their example and by their specific encouragement.

When it came time to start sharing our resources, we considered how our gifts could have the greatest possible impact on all the people we cared about.

We knew that no matter one’s age or station in life, that everyone who lacks good health is equally vulnerable. There is no worry that compares to being sick or disabled and not knowing how things will turn out.

We figured that if we could help relieve or even cancel some of that worry for the families of our community, that we would be pleased.

To be very candid, we actually underestimated how good it would feel to help build a cancer centre or to rebuild a hospital, to create new and badly needed hospice beds and to help with other aspects of health care where there was a need.

We have learned that sharing our resources is in itself like a drug – one with a euphoric and healing effect. Simply put, nothing feels better than to help others feel better.

Today, we are old. We love our lives, but as in all matters, we are also pragmatic. We know we are much closer to the end than to the beginning, and we are ready.

We want to be sure our remaining resources are able to do as much good for as many people for as long as they can.

This is why we have worked with Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to create an endowment of at least $100 million.

The proceeds will fund the Juravinski Research Centre, a partnership of the three organizations that will receive up to $5 million every year, in perpetuity, for health research that will continue to improve life here in Hamilton, the place we love, and well beyond.

It brings us great pleasure to think that when we are gone, our legacy to this community may be measured in the good health of those who come after us.

We are grateful for the love we have shared, the lessons we have learned and the opportunities we have enjoyed in this great community.

We have one last wish: that others will share their own resources, whether great or modest, by creating their own legacy gifts. We want everyone to realize the true joy of sharing, as we have known.