Huffs recognized for philanthropic leadership

County champions - Lanny and Catharine Huff and Catharine's cousin, Gwen Brown, enjoyed a reception held on Wednesday, May 9, at Highline Hall in Wellington to honour the Huffs for their continued community contributions. (Terry McNamee/For The Gazette)

Couple make donation to hospital foundation’s Back the Build campaign, invests new Huff Family Fund through community foundation



When it comes to community support, it is hard to surpass the generosity of Lanny and Catharine Huff, who were honoured for their philanthropy during a special reception on Wednesday, May 9, hosted by the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation and The County Foundation at Highline Hall in Wellington.

The well-known Wellington couple has supported many community organizations over the years, and most recently made a large contribution to the hospital’s Back the Build campaign, which is raising money for the redevelopment of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. The contribution is the campaign’s largest to date.

The evening’s event included an announcement by County Foundation president Brian Beiles introducing the new Huff Family Fund, which was created by Catharine Huff. He said it will support organizations and institutions by providing annual grants of $50,000 over the next 15 years to support projects and programs based in Prince Edward County.

Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation chair Monica Alyea called the Huffs “community spark plugs” who have given the hospital’s fundraising program a tremendous boost. She said the Huffs, the municipality, the hospital foundation and the hospital auxiliary are the four main contributors to date for the $16.5-million rebuilding project. She also noted the great support received from the Rotary Club of Wellington.

“This new hospital is an investment in Prince Edward County and its citizens,” Alyea said. “We are so grateful the Huff family appreciates our investment.”

She stressed that hospitals receive no money for equipment, and that the donations the Huffs have made to the hospital foundation over the years have been a big help in providing the facility with the medical tools it needs.

“We have a special place in our hearts for Catharine and Lanny, not only now, as we stand on the cusp of a major capital campaign to building a new hospital in the county, but for past occasions when they have so generously donated to our annual fundraising endeavours to raise money to purchase the critical medical equipment for our hospital,” Alyea said.

“Your generous, early gift to our new hospital capital fund has given us tremendous momentum to see the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care application process through to its positive conclusion,” she added. “We are beginning to see it transform from dreams and desires to a vision.”

The reception, which was attended by an estimated 150 people, included the presentation of a commemorative plaque expressing thanks to the Huffs for all they have contributed to the county.
“We were so surprised when we drove in and saw so many cars,” Catharine Huff said. “This is just a wonderful occasion for us.”

She said that she hopes others also will step up and contribute to the hospital’s fundraising drive, to the Community Foundation and to any other local organizations that need help.
Among the other speakers were emcee Hilary Fennell, who once worked at Huff Winery and who has known the family for many years. She said they have impacted many lives, sometimes with seemingly small gestures that mean a lot to those who are helped.

Special guest speaker Andrew Chuninall, the chief executive officer of Community Foundations of Canada, explained how his organization has created a broad, extended network of community foundations across Canada to help foundations access resources, share concerns and find ways to help individual communities.