Conestoga news

September 11, 2020 2:08 PM

Investing in students and the future of our community - The Cowan Foundation

Supporting students in their efforts to access education that leads to in-demand careers is an important step towards building successful futures and a strong and vibrant community.

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Mary D’Alton, Executive Director of The Cowan Foundation, visited the Cowan Health Sciences Centre to present Conestoga with the first installment of a $5M investment to help the address the urgent need for additional health care professionals. L-R: Conestoga President John Tibbits, Veronique Boscart, Mary D’Alton.

Thanks to the generous support of Frances Cowan and  The Cowan Foundation, students in Conestoga’s Personal Support Worker (PSW) program, part of the newly established Frances Cowan Centre of Excellence for Seniors Care, will receive additional assistance this fall to offset the costs of education, including an entrance award, their scrubs and  First Aid and CPR certification all paid for.

This initiative is funded through the Foundation’s $5M investment to help Conestoga address the urgent need for additional health care professionals including personal support workers (PSWs) at the front line of care. As well as providing additional access to training and support for students, the new centre will focus on the development of technologically advanced PSW and supportive care training options designed to lead a change movement in the workforce for seniors care.

Mary D’Alton, Executive Director of The Cowan Foundation, visited the Cowan Health Sciences Centre at the college’s Doon campus on Friday, September 4 to present Conestoga President John Tibbits with the first $1M instalment of the donation towards the establishment of the Frances Cowan Centre. It is the largest donation ever received in the history of the college.

“We are delighted to have fulfilled Frances Cowan’s wish to make a transformational gift during her lifetime that will enhance the life of those living with dementia and their families and to highlight and elevate the work that PSWs continue to do,” D’Alton said.

 “We are deeply grateful for the leadership of The Cowan Foundation in supporting Conestoga’s efforts to address the needs of our community,” said President Tibbits. "The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need for innovation and research in developing and maintaining a qualified workforce for seniors care. The Foundation's generous investment and vision, on behalf of Frances Cowan, to ensure the future of PSW education will help position Conestoga as a leader in education and workforce development to improve the quality of life for Canada’s seniors."

D’Alton also presented a cheque for the latest instalment of the Foundation’s $4M investment for the expansion and redevelopment of Conestoga’s Waterloo campus. Opened in 2018, the revitalized campus includes state-of-the-art culinary and hospitality labs, a student-run restaurant open to the public, technology-enabled classrooms and a Welcome Centre that provides access to programming and services for students, newcomers to Canada and individuals seeking career counselling or job search support.

The longstanding partnership and support of The Cowan Foundation has been instrumental in Conestoga’s development, providing essential capacity to transform facilities, enhance programming, support learners and address community needs. 

Started in 1995 in honour of founder Frank Cowan, The Cowan Foundation is sustained by the ongoing success of the Princeton Holdings group of companies including Cowan Insurance Group (and its subsidiary Cowan Financial Solutions), Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance. Together they provide insurance and risk management solutions to clients. The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities. For more information, visit