The Amiel Family: The new face of philanthropy

Young entrepreneurs are increasingly leaving their mark on philanthropy and sending a clear message: For them, simply giving money is not enough.

For donors like Jonathan Amiel and his family, this means pushing beyond philanthropy’s traditional boundaries and investing time and energy in an organization’s success. “There’s more to contributing than just writing the cheque,” he explains. “Today’s young donor wants to be hands on. They want to take a more active role in seeing their financial commitment bear fruit.”

As a member of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, Jonathan says it is important for donors to find opportunities to share their entrepreneurial expertise with the causes they support and says that he and his family often encourage others to do just that. “We’ve tried to impress upon people in our situation, that have achieved success in life, that something like The Children’s can be another avenue where they can apply their success. All the skills and tools they brought to their professional careers can be brought into the philanthropy sphere,” he notes.

Thinking strategically about philanthropy is also a priority. When it came to deciding to support The Children’s, being parents who used the Hospital was certainly a factor – but so was the prospect of supporting The Best Care for Children Campaign to help build the new Hospital. “The quality of the people taking care of us was not reflected in the quality of the facility,” says Jonathan. “It’s no accident that we saw a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at that point. It’s the first time in one hundred years that our city has had the chance to build a children’s pediatric hospital from scratch. We knew if we didn’t participate right then and there, we wouldn’t have been part of this transformational change.”

Attributing his family’s success to hard work and no small amount of luck, Jonathan says they consider it essential to use their good fortune to benefit The Children’s young patients. “When you recognize that you have been blessed in life, you can see the importance of giving back, of sharing for the greater good. It’s a cliché but there’s a lot of truth to the adage that with privilege comes responsibility.”

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