First installment of $5M investment Delivered to Conestoga College

Mary D’Alton, Executive Director of The Cowan Foundation, visited the Cowan Health Sciences Centre to present Conestoga with the first installment of a $5M investment to help the address the urgent need for additional health care professionals. From left to right: John Tibbits, President, Conestoga College; Veronique Boscart, Director of Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care, Conestoga College; Mary D’Alton, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation.

This past June, The Cowan Foundation was pleased to announce a $5M donation to Conestoga College to create Canada’s first integrated strategy to support the training and education of Personal Support Workers (PSWs)​. This donation, made in honour of Frances Cowan, represents the largest donation in the history of The Cowan Foundation. It is also the largest donation Conestoga College has received from any benefactor.

This donation helps support students in Conestoga’s Personal Support Worker (PSW) program, part of the newly established Frances Cowan Centre of Excellence for Seniors Care, to receive additional assistance this fall to offset the costs of education, including an entrance award, their scrubs and First Aid and CPR certification all paid for.

As well as providing additional access to training and support for students, the new centre will focus on the development of technologically advanced PSW and supportive care training options designed to lead a change movement in the workforce for seniors care.

 “We are delighted to have fulfilled Frances Cowan’s wish to make a transformational gift during her lifetime that will enhance the life of those living with dementia and their families and to highlight and elevate the work that PSWs continue to do,” D’Alton said.

 “We are deeply grateful for the leadership of The Cowan Foundation in supporting Conestoga’s efforts to address the needs of our community,” said President Tibbits. "The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need for innovation and research in developing and maintaining a qualified workforce for seniors care. The Foundation's generous investment and vision, on behalf of Frances Cowan, to ensure the future of PSW education will help position Conestoga as a leader in education and workforce development to improve the quality of life for Canada’s seniors."

Mary D’Alton also presented a cheque for the latest installment of the Foundation’s $4M investment for the expansion and redevelopment of Conestoga’s Waterloo campus. Opened in 2018, the revitalized campus includes state-of-the-art culinary and hospitality labs, a student-run restaurant open to the public, technology-enabled classrooms and a Welcome Centre that provides access to programming and services for students, newcomers to Canada and individuals seeking career counselling or job search support.