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Volume 91, Issue 22

Friday, October 3, 1997

Sock it to the loo


The Ivey family and the spirit of giving

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN HOSE? The sign outside the Richard M. Ivey School of Business points the way for those looking for excellence.

By Brad Lister
Gazette Staff

You probably walk by the building a few times a day, however you only might look at the sign and think, 'who are they?'

The Richard M. Ivey School of Business is one of the most central buildings on campus. Thousands of students pass it every day and yet most are unsure of just how important the name Ivey is to Western and the London community at large.

"They have contributed enormously to the city of London," says Mayor Diane Haskett. The contributions she speaks of, have been felt in every sector of the community.

Since 1947, when the Richard Ivey Foundation was first founded, charitable institutions in London and the surrounding area have received millions of dollars for assistance. Everything from Parkwood Hospital to The Grand Theatre has benefitted from donations made by the foundation. Today, Richard M. Ivey, wife Beryl, daughters Jennifer, Suzanne and Rosamond, as well as son Richard W., all sit on the foundation's Board of Directors.

"I'm at a loss for words," says Memorial Boys and Girls Club executive director Don Donner, when asked about the Ivey's. Grants from the foundation have done an incredible amount for the club. "They breathed a whole new life into the agency – the money allowed us to do things that we weren't able to," Donner says.

"They do so many great things and are such great philanthropists. They have received great benefits from the city but they have also given back."

Haskett echoes this sentiment, saying the foundation has led London to be a caring and sharing community. Haskett feels their generosity helps to set a standard of giving and helps to establish London's reputation as a giving community.

The biggest amount of money over the years however, has gone to Western. Between the Richard Ivey Foundation, The Richard and Jean Ivey Fund and the family, the amount of money given to the Western would total over $37 million in today's dollars.

Richard M. Ivey himself, says his family has fond memories of the school. The Western connection is actually three generations strong for the family. Ivey's father went to the university, as well as his children. Western was also where Ivey met wife Beryl.

"Some of the best years of our lives were spent at Western," he says. "The whole situation of the Western campus is very attractive. London is a nice city to live in while you're attending school."

Giving is incredibly important to Ivey. "Obviously, it's an important issue to us, we wouldn't have done what we did if we hadn't felt that way."

The same importance was shown in 1995, when $13.5 million, one of the largest grants ever was received by the business school, courtesy of the Iveys. "We are very pleased at how [the school] has grown over the years and excellence is something we like to support," says Ivey. "The school is definitely fulfilling its mandate very well."

Haskett says the donation has allowed the business school to maintain its international stature and Ivey hopes it has given graduates have a leg up in the job market.

The city of London has enjoyed five decades of commitment to charitable causes by the Ivey family. "We're very grateful for their contributions through the years," says Haskett.

"When I think of the Ivey's I'm reminded of a quote by Winston Churchill 'we make a living by what we get but we make a living by what we give'," says Donner.

A spirit of giving has definitely been alive with the Ivey's.

To Contact The Features Department: gazfeat@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997