Roger Neilson House

Roger’s House renamed Roger Neilson House; Ottawa Senators DonateFoundation makes a $2.2 million gift

Foundations partner to ensure the future of pediatric palliative care in the region

On what would have been Roger Neilson’s 82nd birthday, a National Hockey League coach responsible for many innovations in the game and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club (@Senators) and the Ottawa Senators Foundation (@sensfoundation) have  rebranded Roger’s House, an eight-bed pediatric palliative and respite care facility located on the grounds of the Children’s Hospital of Easter Ontario (CHEO) and renamed it Roger Neilson House.

In addition, the Ottawa Senators Foundation today announced a $2.2 million gift to the CHEO Foundation/Ottawa Senators Foundation Endowment Fund for Roger Neilson House to ensure the future sustainability of the facility and the important programs and services it provides. The Ottawa Senators Foundation also announced an official fundraising partnership with the CHEO Foundation to support pediatric palliative care needs throughout the region. Together, the foundations will ensure the annual operating and capital needs of Roger Neilson House are being met while continuing to grow their joint endowment fund to provide long-term financial security for the home.

“Roger Neilson was a community-oriented man who always made time for children and youth. When the opportunity came up to leave behind a legacy to help families Roger was immediately on board,” said Cyril Leeder, president, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. “The Senators and the Ottawa Senators Foundation wanted to ensure that the legacy we have helped to build in Roger’s memory is not lost on generations to come, nor is the important relationship and connection the home has to our team and its players.”

Roger Neilson House opened its doors on April 21, 2006, with 80 per cent of its operating costs being covered by the Ontario government. The Ottawa Senators Foundation made a commitment to cover the balance of funding required for successful operations at the home. In the last 10 years, with the incredible support it has received from community event partners, corporations and individual donors, this has translated to more than $11.4 million of funding invested into the operating needs of the home, capital improvements and into an endowment fund created jointly with the CHEO Foundation for Roger Neilson House.

“Since the first shovel hit the ground in 2003 through today, Roger Neilson House has been an integral part of our foundation and a vital resource for families in this community,” said Danielle Robinson, president and CEO, Ottawa Senators Foundation. “This gift and our partnership with the CHEO Foundation will ensure that pediatric palliative care and respite services are always available to children and families who need them.”

The CHEO Foundation has also been invested in the success of Roger Neilson House since its inception. With 95% of all patients at Roger Neilson House cared for and referred by CHEO’s palliative care team, the collaboration in fundraising with the Ottawa Senators Foundation simply mirrors the collaboration in the provision of care to kids and families..

“When we established the Endowment Fund for Roger Neilson House in partnership with the Ottawa Senators Foundation, both organizations shared a vision and an understanding of the importance of secure, reliable long-term funding,” said Kevin Keohane, president and CEO of the CHEO Foundation. The $2.2 million dollar gift to this fund by the Ottawa Senators Foundation moves us closer to realizing this vision and we are committed to engaging our community to make further contributions and help make it a reality. We are so thankful to everyone at the Sens and to the people throughout our region who support our collective mission.”

Roger Neilson House, now in its 10th year of operation, has had more than 3,000 admissions from across Ontario, western Quebec and Nunavut and has provided over 20,000 days of care. With this incredible growth  comes the need for continued service delivery and new program development to meet the ever-changing needs of children and youth and the families the facility is serving.

Moving forward, the CHEO Foundation and the Ottawa Senators Foundation will be the two primary fundraising organizations for Roger Neilson House. The Ottawa Senators Foundation is the official “event partner” for individuals, groups and organizations wanting to organize special events in support of Roger Neilson House. Memorial, tribute, major gift, and other donation types to support Roger Neilson House may be directed to the CHEO Foundation.

Together, these foundations will work with the community to close the $3.8 million gap to support the most urgent annual needs of Roger Neilson House, the building of the endowment fund and the establishment of a capital fund to ensure a welcoming home-away-from-home atmosphere comforts children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

Fundraising dollars will support the most urgent annual needs of families who use Roger Neilson House Pediatric Palliative Care. Some examples of essential programs include:

  • Grief support and bereavement counselling
  • Visiting hospice
  • Recreational Therapy Program
  • Symptom management
  • End of Life Care

“The ongoing community support over the last 10 years has been remarkable and continues to be deeply appreciated by the children, families, staff and volunteers,” said Megan Wright, executive director Roger Neilson House. “The need for our services continues to grow. In the past two years, referrals for palliative care have increased by 40 per cent, we continue to work to meet the demand by offering new services and expanding access to current programs. The unwavering support from both the Ottawa Senators Foundation and the CHEO Foundation allows us to continue to work towards our mission.

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In the News:

Roger’s House 10 years on: One mother’s story – The Ottawa Citizen

A place to ‘just be kids’: 10 years of help and healing at Roger’s House – The Ottawa Citizen

Roger’s House celebrates 10 years of mending – The Ottawa Sun