The Cole Foundation was founded in 1980 by the late J N (Jack) Cole, the retired Vice Chair of Wood Gundy. The primary mandate of the Foundation is to support research and patient care in the fields of pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphomas in Montreal. The secondary mandate is to support a variety of other worthy causes in Montreal, in particular the intercultural dialogue between the diverse communities of the city.
Currently, the Foundation is among the top 2% of Canadian foundations in that it annually donates $1.75 million of which approximately $1.5 million is directed toward medical issues.
Jack Cole was the founding chairperson of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and a dedicated fundraiser for its many campaigns. After the death of his only child, he established and supported the Penny Cole Laboratory at the Montreal Children’s Research Centre to conduct research into pediatric oncology and hematology.
In 1997, the Cole Foundation endowed the Jack Cole Chair in Pediatric Oncology/Hematology at McGill University.
In addition to medical research, a substantial amount of money continues to be directed to community causes.
The vision of the CF is to create a centre of excellence in Montreal for pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphomas research and patient care. These diseases are the most prevalent cancers for this population group. While some forms of these diseases have a reportedly high success rate of cure, this masks the facts that patients often suffer from secondary cancers and other consequences such as obesity, cognitive impairment, and heart problems.
To develop this centre of excellence, the Cole Foundation has brought together l’Université de Montréal, l’Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, l’Institut de recherché en Immunologie et Cancerologie, the CHU-Ste-Justine and the CHUM, McGill University and the MUHC, and l’Université du Québec (Institut Armand-Frappier). All of these organizations now share a common vision in line with that of the Cole Foundation. Together, experts from these institutions have advised the Cole Foundation on initiatives that support the breadth of research and patient care across all institutional boundaries.
In 2007, the Cole Foundation established a two year fellowship programme offering grants to clinical, postdoctoral and graduate student scientists dedicated to research in pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphomas. Since that time, over $5 million has been committed to more than 60 researchers in Greater Montreal laboratories, hospitals and universities.
In 2009, the Cole Foundation pledged $572,000 over 4 years to create a pediatric leukemia cell bank at Saint-Justine University Hospital research Centre. In addition the Foundation committed to contribute $637,000 over the same 4 years to allow the current Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital to expand its operation and preserve adolescent leukemia cells that will be available to researchers.
These, and other initiatives, are the building blocks of the “centre of excellence” here in Montreal in research and child care in pediatric and young adult leukemia and lymphoma.