Sorbara family gift inspired by tradition of generosity, leadership

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Their transformational gift pledge of $5 million to the Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign for Mackenzie Health is inspired by a family tradition of generosity and community leadership.

Siblings Edward Sorbara, Marcella Tanzola and Gregory Sorbara stand together before a rustic log cabin that is a symbol both of their family’s deep ties to Vaughan and of the proud heritage that has helped to make Vaughan the progressive city it is today.

Their transformational gift pledge of $5 million to the Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign for Mackenzie Health is inspired by a family tradition of generosity and community leadership.

They hope their leadership donation will inspire others who are as equally invested in the past and future of Vaughan to join the fundraising campaign that will bring a world-class hospital to the city.

“Nonno’s Cabin” lies at the edge of the Frank Robson Woodlot on Keele Street in Maple, gifted to the City of Vaughan by the Sorbara family in memory of patriarch Sam Sorbara, who refurbished the cabin on land in then rural Vaughan as a retreat for his family and friends.

Immigrating to Canada from Italy in the 1920s as a teenager, Sam established an insurance business in 1942 that laid the foundation for the family-owned real estate, planning, development, construction, investment and management firm that is the Vaughan-based Sorbara Group of Companies of today, with more than 65 years of growth.

“Our gift of $5 million to Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital continues a giving tradition, one that we were born into and continue to embrace and share with the third and fourth generations of Sorbara families,” says Greg, who is Chair of the Mackenzie Health Foundation Campaign Cabinet that is spearheading the multi-year $250-million campaign to help build Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital and enhance care at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital.

In recognition of their generous gift pledge, the provincially acclaimed York Region District Stroke Centre at Mackenzie Health and the Integrated Stroke Centre at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be named in honour of the Sorbara family. A family history with stroke prompted the Sorbaras to invest in stroke prevention, care and rehabilitation with their gift. Sam passed away in 2002, 12 years after suffering a debilitating stroke.

The $5 million pledge in these early stages of the fundraising campaign continues the proud Sorbara tradition of community leadership established by their father.

Edward hopes their gift will inspire others in the building industry who have fuelled and benefited from the tremendous growth in Vaughan and Richmond Hill to also support this much needed hospital.

Marcella refers to an “obligation” and responsibility” to help build the new hospital in the city that has played a role in their family’s business success. “We want to set a high bar in an era that requires significant private support for public enterprises,” Greg adds.

The provincial government is providing funding for 90 per cent of the cost of building the new hospital in Vaughan, with the requirement that the community pay a “local share” – 10 per cent of the construction cost and 100 per cent of the equipment and technology costs.

Sam’s granddaughter, Christina Sorbara, is proud of the family tradition that her father, Edward, Aunt Marcella and Uncle Greg are honouring with their generous gift to help build the hospital.

“This gift sends a strong message to the next generation about the importance of giving back, and being involved, particularly in the city in which our family has so many connections,”

Christina says. With the groundbreaking planned for this fall, Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will be the first hospital in Canada to feature fully integrated “smart” technology, with systems and medical devices that can “speak” directly to one another to maximize information exchange to improve the patient experience.

The Integrated Stroke Unit at Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital will feature 36 private rooms, with space for family to stay overnight, and an independent living suite where patients and their families can prepare for a safe return to home.

The York Region District Stroke Centre program at Mackenzie Health is one of 17 district stroke centres in Ontario and is recognized as a provincial leader in best practice treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of stoke.

Recognizing a gift that will help revolutionize stroke care and recovery for York Region is (front, from left) Edward Sorbara, Ingrid Perry, President & CEO, Mackenzie Health Foundation, Marcella Tanzola, Greg Sorbara, Chair, Exceptional Care Belongs Here Campaign Cabinet, Mackenzie Health Foundation (back, from left) Altaf Stationwala, President & CEO, Mackenzie Health, and Dr. Vince Basile, Medical Director, Neurology and Stroke, Mackenzie Health.