Event Cover Photo
The Big Ask

The Big Ask

Kevin Goldthorp (SickKids Foundation), Marilyn Brown (ROM Governors) and David Palmer (University of Toronto), moderated by Valerie PringleTransformation in Canada’s Fundraising & Development Sector
Thu, Jan 23, 2020
11:45 AM - 1:30 PM
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The Fairmont Royal York
100 Front Street West
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Over the last year we've seen a number of big names and big dollar investments in charitable initiatives. How is charity evolving in Canada? What external factors are impacting the way organizations fundraise? How are these organizations leading in attracting the big gifts?

Join Canadian Club Toronto on January 23 when our esteemed panelists Kevin Goldthorp (President & Chief Development Officer, SickKids), Marilyn Brown (Vice President, Philanthropy, ROM Governors) and David Palmer (Vice President, Advancement, University of Toronto) sit down with journalist Valerie Pringle to discuss the trends, opportunities and challenges in the fundraising sector, how you can stay ahead of it and how you can bring in the big gifts.


Kevin Goldthorp
President and Chief Development Officer, SickKids Foundation

Kevin Goldthorp is President and Chief Development Officer at SickKids Foundation, where he has served since October 2016. In his role, Kevin oversees the execution of the $1.3 billion SickKids VS Limits campaign.

Kevin is an accomplished and dynamic leader with a strong track record of managing successful, high-profile fundraising campaigns within the academic and health-care sectors.

Previously, Kevin was Chief Executive Officer, Sinai Health Foundation (formerly Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation) and Executive Vice President, Advancement & Marketing, Sinai Health System. In just over three years, Kevin raised an unprecedented $250 million for the Campaign to Renew Sinai, the largest campaign in Mount Sinai’s history.

Prior to joining Sinai, Kevin served as Vice-President, External Relations, at Western University where he drove a transformational campaign, re-branding strategy, aligned international foundations and launched a new International Advisory Board.

Before rejoining Western, he spent six years as Chief Executive Officer of the Sunnybrook Foundation where he completed the integration of separate foundations and launched a successful multi-hundred-million dollar fundraising campaign and re-branding of the Hospital and Foundation.

Kevin holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Trinity College in the University of Toronto. He has three children and is an active volunteer with Trinity College, a Board member of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and Board member and treasurer of his condominium corporation.


Marilyn Brown
Vice President, Philanthropy, ROM Governors

With more than 20 years experience in the charitable sector, Marilyn is continually inspired by the donors she works with to achieve tremendous impact through their philanthropy in support of important projects and causes. She has led high-performing integrated fundraising teams and comprehensive campaigns for Kids Help Phone, Canadian Cancer Society and Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation.

She is Vice President, Philanthropy for the ROM Governors, since Sept 2019. She began her career in fundraising at the University of Toronto based in her alma mater - the Faculty of Music, during the ground-breaking “Great Minds Campaign”. Marilyn is on the Board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto Chapter as VP Marketing and Membership and has served on the governing boards of Toronto Summer Music and Women’s Musical Club of Toronto.



David Palmer
Vice President, Advancement, University of Toronto

Since 2007, David has served as Vice-President, Advancement for the University of Toronto, Canada’s largest research-intensive university, with 88,000 students on three campuses, 21,000 faculty and staff, and 580,000 alumni in more than 180 countries. Under David’s leadership, the University of Toronto publicly launched the Boundless campaign in November 2011 with a $2 billion goal. In December 2018, Boundless concluded as the largest campaign in Canadian history, with $2.64 billion raised and more than 104,000 unique donors contributing.

David Palmer is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, a Trustee of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), an executive committee member of the National Council of Foundation Executives, and a director of the Earth Rangers Foundation. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in musicology from Princeton University and began his career as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at The University of Western Ontario, his undergraduate alma mater.

From 1999 to 2007, David served as President and Executive Director of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors (originally the ROM Foundation) where he led Renaissance ROM—a transformational campaign that re-defined the Museum’s financial resource base, its public brand, and its position as a major international cultural destination. From 1993 to 1999, David led a ground-breaking campaign for the University of Western Ontario’s business school. These efforts resulted in it being renamed the Richard Ivey School of Business, ushering in a new era in professional-faculty fundraising in Canada.

David was recognized in 2011 with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2016 he was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education.

The University of Toronto is a member of AAU, CASE 50, and the Advancement Leadership Forum. The University of Toronto is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world (18th overall—U.S. News & World Report 2020; 18th overall—Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019; 4th in research output in sciences and 1st among public universities—NTU 2018; 4rd in North America for clinical medicine—U.S. News & World Report 2020); 12th worldwide for Global Employability of Graduates—QS 2019).


Valerie Pringle
Canadian Television Host & Journalist

Valerie Pringle is one of Canada's best known and most respected broadcasters public figures and volunteers.

She started her career at age 19 as a student reporter with CFRB Radio in Toronto after graduating from Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson.
She helped launch the CBC-TV news and current affairs program, MIDDAY. Valerie moved to CTV in 1993 and co-hosted Canada AM until 2001.
Valerie then helped produce, write and host documentaries and series including "Valerie Pringle Has Left the Building”, "Test of Faith" and “The Canadian Antiques Roadshow”.

She is now involved full-time in not for profit work. She is Chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. She is a member of the Foundation Board of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation, The Ontario Brain Institute,the Canadian Broadcast Heritage Museum and the International Festival of Authors.She is a mentor for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Valerie was awarded an honourary doctorate from Ryerson University and was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006 for her contributions to communications and her volunteer work.

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