PECMHF announce Huff family’s transformational gift to Back the Build

ALMOST THERE (From left) Dennis Darby, Back the Build campaign co-chair; Barbara McConnell, PECMHF board chair; Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation; Catharine and Lanny Huff and Nancy Parks, Back the Build campaign co-chair announced on Thursday the Huff's $2 million transformational gift to the Back the Build campaign. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)




The finish line of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation’s (PECMHF) Back the Build campaign is in sight thanks to a ‘Transformational’ gift from well known and long time supporters of the local hospital.

On Thursday, at a small gathering with hospital staff, volunteers and donors, the PECMH Foundation campaign cabinet announced that $14.7M has been raised to date in cash and commitments for the new hospital. The announcement came as the Foundation unveiled a large fundraising thermometer on the exterior of the current hospital. The thermometer was funded through a grant from the Jack and Ruby Lockyer Ward Fund, administered by the County Foundation.

“Today is a very exciting day for everyone who has been involved in the campaign so far,” said Nancy Parks, campaign cabinet co-chair. “The large Thermometer was installed a few days ago and we want to thank The County Foundation for all their support towards the thermometer through the Jack and Ruby Ward Lockyer Fund. Our community has raised and donated a very large amount of money in support of this campaign, $14.7 million is a great deal of money, with that being said we still have more to raise and that is $1.8 million. As more people come forward over the next few years we will continue to raise the mercury and we look forward to the day when the doors to our new hospital open for the first time.”

Parks co-chairs the campaign cabinet along with Foundation Board Director, Dennis Darby.

“No matter where your from as a visitor or a resident this hospital serves everyone and the impact of this project will certainly reach people from across our province and beyond, it should be felt by generations,” Darby stated. “I was honoured to step forward and help as a new comer to the County, many the people I’ve met I now count you as friends and that’s really important because PEC is a very special place because of the people who live here, because of the people who spend time here and because of the people who care about it and as a result of that generosity and support our foundation has received I am so proud to announce formally today that we have raised $14.7 million towards the $16.5 million goal. “

PECMH Foundation’s Back the Build campaign is the largest fundraising effort undertaken by the organization in its 35-year history. While the heart and soul of the current County hospital is thriving, the physical structure is nearing the end of its ability to meet today’s standards of medical care. After over 60 years in service, the time for a new hospital is now.

The new Quinte Health Care (QHC) Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital is on track to open in 2025 with shovels going into the ground in 2022.

The $16.5M fundraising goal is the community’s local share of the new hospital project, set out by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. This funding requirement includes a portion of the construction costs for the new hospital as well as 100 per cent of the equipment.

“We are so excited on this really special day to be able to hold this event. It means so much to us all and to our entire community in helping us move towards such an important day, building a new hospital in our county and we look forward to 2025 with so much anticipation when we will open those doors,”expressed Barbra McConnell, chair of the PECMH Foundation board directors. “In the meantime we still have an important job to do and as the chair of the PECMHF its my job to make sure we are still very much involved in the process of raising funds to make sure that this hospital still has all the equipment it needs for the doctors and nurses to be able to do their job with the stellar excellence that they have performed day in and day out since they came to work at this hospital. So I am very please to say that our ongoing fundraising for priority medical equipment still continues to be a priority for us while we are building the campaign for our new hospital and it continues to do very well, thank you so much to the people in PEC that don’t forget that part of our job and keep giving us the money we need to do that every year.”

Since the early days of fundraising for the new hospital started in 2014, more than 1,360 donors have contributed to or pledged to help the PECMH Foundation reach this $14.7M fundraising milestone.

Two of those donors were present at the announcement and thermometer unveiling.

Long-time supporters of the Hospital Foundation, Lanny and Catharine Huff are known for their continuous and generous financial support to so many worthy not-for-profit organizations in Prince Edward County and beyond.

Lanny and Catharine formally announced their $2 million gift to help Back the Build for Prince Edward County’s new hospital. This gift, facilitated through the County Foundation, helped the PECMH Foundation reach the $14.7 million mark in commitments raised so far and will help to ensure the funds needed for the new hospital are realized.

“I think this year has made us very much aware of how important it is to have a good community hospital and wonderful caregivers and essential workers, it has really brought to light how important that is.” Catharine Huff said We’ve known for a long time because both of us were born in the county and we’ve had it all in this hospital or the previous one. A hospital in the county is so important and this is a very good one and all of my family who have been treated here speak highly of it including us so thank you for proceeding with a wonderful hospital and all the work your doing.”

Hospital Foundation representatives were overflowing with gratitude in regards to this leadership donation to the Back the Build campaign. The Huff family’s transformational gift is the largest the PECMH Foundation has accounted for from individual donors to-date.

In recognition of the Huff’s transformative gift, the lobby/atrium inside the main entrance to the new PECM Hospital will be named in honour of this prominent County family.

“It’s true when I say every gift makes a different and has an impact,” conveyed Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMHF. “We are certainly fortunate to have members of our community in a position to be able to give such transformational gifts, our municipality with $4.5 million pledge, with Catherine and Lanny’s $2 million pledge, all of those transformational gifts have got us to where we are today and without them we wouldn’t be here. We also need the donation of every size from all of our community members. We have $1.8 million left to go and it will be the hardest amount to raise and there is an opportunity for people to be involved. If your looking for updates on our campaign, if your looking for ways to give and get involved please visit our new website that is all focused on our campaign. So stay involved, stay informed, reach out to us we need your help and we can’t wait to be in a position to celebrate our new hospital in 2025 with our entire community.”

The PECMH Foundation is reporting a total of $14.7 raised in commitments to-date, or 89 per cent of its $16.5M goal. 

Along with this announcement of a transformational gift to Back the Build, the PECMHF felt it was time to enhance their Back the Build brand so as to truly reflect the community that has come together to support the campaign to build a new hospital.

From left Nancy Parks, Back the Build campaign co-chair; Dennis Darby, Back the Build campaign co-chair and Shannon Coull, executive director of the PECMH Foundation unveil the new the refreshed I Love the County, I Back the Build logo.
(Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)

“Our County is a small community with a huge reach no matter your age,” Coull voiced. “Whether you live in the County permanently, are a seasonal home owner or a visitor there are two things we all have in common, we all love the county and we all feel safer knowing we have access to a hospital to receive exceptional care when we need it most. Prince Edward County is your County, this hospital is your hospital this is why all of us are being given the opportunity to be a part of this campaign to help build a new hospital in PEC and we want everyone to have a sense of ownership over it. Your financial support regardless of the size of your donation has an impact. I am so proud and thrilled to unveil our new brand for our Back the Build campaign designed by Snap 360 president Ken Dickson, I love the County, I Back the Build.”

Those interested in making a donation can do so by visiting the new campaign website at

Cheques can also be mailed to PECMH Foundation, 403 Main Street, Picton, ON K0K 2T0, and those with further inquires may direct them to 613-476-1008 ext. 4502.

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization whose mission is to raise money to advance health care for the patients of the hospital and the people of Prince Edward County.