Friends of the MUHC shifts from “friendraising’ to ‘fundraising’

March 8, 2016 -Martin C. Barry for Westmount Independent – After being officially granted charitable status last fall, it’s full steam ahead for The Friends of the MUHC, a new volunteer group.

“We’ve been ready to go since November,” Andrea Usher-Jones, a Friends board member responsible for communications, said in an interview with the Independent. “Up to now, we’ve been ‘friendraising,’ but now we can fundraise.”

Despite some initial birth pains, Usher-Jones and Friends board president Lesley Reford, both Westmounters, said they are very enthusiastic about the road ahead. “Our motto is ‘All Hands on Deck.’ We’re really hands-on,” Usher-Jones pointed out. “We would like to see people becoming involved from the community,” Reford added.

According to a page on the MUHC website, the group’s functions include raising money for the health centre as well as promoting the hospital’s image in the community. Money raised can be used to purchase medical equipment, sponsor research awards, and support programs that enhance patient care.

Reford said the aux­iliaries of the six merged hospitals (the Montreal General, the Royal Victoria, the Montreal Children’s, the Montreal Neuro­logical, the Montreal Chest Institute and the Lachine Hospital) lost membership and orientation in recent years, leading to a concerted move to create a new centralized organization.

Two other MUHC units, the Cedars Cancer Centre and the MUHC’s Research Institute, will also be benefiting from The Friends’ efforts, they added. So far according to Reford and Usher-Jones, the Chest Hospital Auxiliary has officially shut down and handed over its remaining funds. Several of its members have also joined the new organization.

The Children’s Hospital’s Auxiliary did the same in December and transferred $10,000 to The Friends.

They said that a special effort has been made to ensure that appointments to The Friends of the MUHC’s 16-member board are done in a manner that equitably represents the former auxiliaries. They also wished to dispel the time-worn notion that hospital auxiliaries are dominated by women.

They pointed out that a man, Kevin Pea­cock (also a Westmounter), is vice presi­dent of The Friends’ board and that the group has many other male members.

More information about The Friends of the MUHC can be obtained by emailing