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Generations of commitment to the community

an older blonde woman in a purple too and an older man with greing hair and moustache in a dark suit.

Through their involvement with many local organizations in North Simcoe, including Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH), Susan Robillard & Phil DeBruyne exemplify what it means to be true philanthropists, giving of their time, resources and influence to build up and strengthen the North Simcoe community.

As humble as they are generous, Susan & Phil have been consistent supporters of their community hospital, GBGH, for more than 20 years. They are a true testament that every little bit helps. They volunteer for golf tournaments, buy event tickets and offer thoughtful insight when asked for advice as members of the Foundation’s Hartog Robillard Advisory Committee.  They make an annual financial commitment through the Foundation Cornerstone Partners program, plus they are always quick to respond to appeals for specific equipment and technology.

As Phil says, “there are so many ways to support your local hospital. We try to pitch in whenever we can.”

When Phil joined the GBGH Foundation Board of Directors in 2012, he was an active volunteer, engaging the community in support of the hospital through golf events and thoughtful conversations.  Two years in, however, he found himself in the GBGH Emergency Department, where he was diagnosed with a serious medical condition.  Phil spent more than 2 months in hospital – both in Toronto and Midland – on his challenging journey back to health, giving him a unique patient’s perspective on the healthcare system and a renewed commitment to support community healthcare.

For Susan, altruism was inspired in her youth, growing up with parents who were strong community supporters and active volunteers. Susan’s late father, Gil Robillard, was a visionary, and passionate about planning for the future.  On his passing in 2007, the Gil Robillard Endowment Fund was established through the GBGH Foundation, and the community was invited to honour Gil’s memory through donations which would lay the groundwork for a strong future for GBGH.

“Like my dad used to say,” Susan shares, “you don’t have to be rich to give, you give what you can, as often as you can.”

Gil’s strategic vision became a legacy in 2020, as Susan & Phil granted funds from the Gil Robillard Endowment to purchase 22 acres of vacant land, adjacent to the current GBGH property.  This land will be held in trust, enabling the hospital to grow to meet future demands for health care services.

“At this time, there are no plans for construction on the property,” says Nicole Kraftscik, Executive Director for the GBGH Foundation, “but given the age and size of our existing building, we know there will eventually be a need to redevelop and expand on a single hospital site.”

Even through the unprecedented instability of the past year, Susan & Phil have continued to support their hospital, and their community.  Their generosity is equipping GBGH to continue providing exceptional care, and inspiring the community to stay strong, no matter what the future holds.

To learn more about leaving a legacy to Georgian Bay General Hospital, please click here.

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