Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
“To be included is both an honour and a responsibility, one that we do not take lightly”
The Ukrainian Canadians have once again shone at the top levels of nationwide recognition when the Maclean’s included James and Louise Temerty in its 2021 Power List. The most recognisable couple in the Ukrainian Canadian community was called “the first name in medical philanthropy” in Canada.
The list referred to the Temerty Foundation’s $250-million donation to the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine (made in September 2020) which is the single largest gift in Canadian history and among the largest gifts made internationally to a faculty of medicine.
Apart from this remarkable donation, the Temertys’ foothold in the healthcare space includes a long list of projects: the Temerty Centre for Therapeutic Brain Intervention at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; the Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; the world’s first international tele-simulation centre in medical education at University Health Network; the Temerty Foundation RGNEF Research Fund for ALS at Western University; the Temerty Chair in Focused Ultrasound Research; the Surgical Training Partnership with Ukraine at Sunnybrook Research Institute; and the Ukrainian Paediatric Fellowship Program at The Hospital for Sick Children.
University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine will include the new Ukraine – U of T Education and Research Collaboration Fund. The new Fund has been established to support education and research, with the goal of increasing and deepening the Faculty’s collaborations and partnerships with clinicians, health educators and researchers in Ukraine. Funding will include but is not limited to: visiting fellowships and professorships, scholarships, webinars, symposia, and collaborative research projects. In anticipation of the formal launch, the University has assembled an advisory committee to get input and feedback on the needs and opportunities for this initiative for an inclusive approach to this program.
The Maclean’s article dedicated to Mr. and Ms. Temerty in the 2021 Power List notes that in a release announcing the $250-million gift to U of T, James Temerty described it as simply “doing our part.”
In his comment for New Pathway – Ukrainian News, Mr. Temerty said, “We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the betterment of Canadian society and continue our long-standing support of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine through our work. To be included on this list is both an honour and a responsibility, one that we do not take lightly. We thank the magazine for this recognition.”
Temerty Foundation and its founders
Founded in 1997 by James and Louise Temerty, the Temerty Foundation has provided significant philanthropic support to health care, education and culture in Canada and beyond.
Staying true to his roots, Mr. Temerty and his family have been long-standing supporters of the Ukrainian community, diaspora and causes important to Ukraine. The Temerty family established the Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at Harvard; sponsored the Ukraine in European Dialogue at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna; the Kyiv Mohyla Business School; the Help Us Help charity; the Ukrainian Leadership Academy; Atlantic Council’s Ukraine in Europe Initiative; and the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium. Mr. Temerty is the founder and main sponsor of the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, an organization which strives to deepen cross-cultural and interfaith relations between Ukrainians and Jews. He is also one of the biggest benefactors of Lviv’s Ukrainian Catholic University.
James Temerty holds a number of positions on different boards and councils:
- Co-chair of the Advisory Council of Ukrainian World Congress
- Chair of the Advisory Council of Ukrainian Canadian Congress
- Member of the International Advisory Board of Atlantic Council
- Member of the Honorary Board of NGO “Ukraine-2050”
He also has been a member of Ukraine’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council.
Mr. Temerty has sponsored such organizations and projects in Canada and Ukraine as Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund; a gift edition of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar translated into English by Peter Fedynsky; an English-language atlas of geology and mineral resources of Ukraine; the Kobzar Park rejuvenation project in Timmins, ON; the Mysteries of Ancient Ukraine: the Remarkable Trypilian Culture (5400 – 2700 BC) and the Legacy in Gold: Scythian Treasures from Ancient Ukraine exhibitions in the Royal Ontario Museum.
James Temerty worked for IBM before launching an entrepreneurial career, starting with a franchise of ComputerLand that he built into the largest chain of ComputerLand stores in the world. Subsequently Jim partnered with two of his ComputerLand store Managers in the launch of Softchoice Corporation, providing the seed funding and becoming Chair of the Board. In that position, which he held for 16 years, Jim played a key role in guiding the company to its position as a leading North American provider of technology solutions and services.
This was followed by the founding of Northland Power. The company was created with innovation and environmental stewardship at its core. Starting with the first large-scale biomass generation project in Canada, to high efficiency clean natural gas cogeneration, to early adoption of onshore wind and later offshore wind, and utility scale solar generation, the company has led the way in Canada.
Northland’s generating capacity is currently 2.68 GW (gross) with an additional 1.47 GW (gross) of generating capacity under development. The company’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a market cap around $10.0 billion.
James Temerty’s entrepreneurial career and philanthropic endeavors have been recognized with many distinguished honours. In 2008, he was appointed a Member of the prestigious Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to society. In 2010, he was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Canada. Mr. Temerty received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 to honour him for his contributions to his country. In 2013, Mr. Temerty was the first recipient of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Medal, an award established to recognize contributions to the cause of Ukrainian-Jewish understanding and cooperation. In 2015, he was honoured by Ukrainian President Poroshenko with Ukraine’s Order of Yaroslav the Wise, which is the highest tribute Ukraine can confer to a foreign citizen who has not been a head of state. Mr. Temerty in 2010 was awarded the Taras Shevchenko Medal, the highest form of recognition granted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, for his lifelong support and leadership within the Ukrainian Canadian community. In 2019, Jim and Louise Temerty received The Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko’s Tryzub Community Leadership award.
Born in Ukraine in 1941, James (né Constantin) Temerty was named after his grandfather Costiantyn who was arrested by the NKVD in late 1937, accused of “insurgent activity” and executed by firing squad shortly thereafter. He was rehabilitated in 1989. The family fled the warzone in Ukraine in 1944 and lived in displaced persons’ camps in Germany and Belgium before migrating to Canada, where they arrived at Pier 21 on December 8, 1950. Temerty’s father Ilya was an engineer, his mother Raissa was a Director of a Ukrainian school in Montreal. Temerty’s sister Ludmilla is a renowned artist. She designed the first Holodomor commemorative monument in Canada, erected in Edmonton in 1983.