40 Under 40

Colin Hennigar

SickKids Foundation
Toronto, ON

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  1. He led the fundraising efforts for the SickKids Caribbean Initiative, a partnership with six countries to improve the diagnosis and treatment of kids with cancer and serious blood disorders, raising more than $8 million from donors in Canada and across the Caribbean region.
  2. He is a regular speaker at AHP, AFP and Woodmark Group events, and is an active volunteer with Woodmark as a senior associate and co-lead of the principal gifts cohorts while also teaching at George Brown College as part of their Fundraising Certificate Program.
  3. Colin leads a team of 10 major gift fundraisers who have raised more than $45 million annually, with the last two years’ results being the strongest on record.
  4. He is actively engaging the tech and innovation community to raise $25 million to rebuild the SickKids Emergency Department as part of the Tech4SickKids initiative, and he co-created the SickKids Innovators Program, raising over $1 million from next generation philanthropists each donating $5,000 over the past five years.

Q & A

  1. How did you get into health care philanthropy?

    My career began in the arts and culture sector, primarily at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and an internship with the National Trust for Scotland in Edinburgh.  Upon the completion of the Renaissance ROM Campaign, one the largest cultural campaigns in Canadian history, SickKids Foundation was about to launch a campaign to build a state-of-the-art research tower in downtown Toronto as part of the greater campus of the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).  With my capital campaign experience at the ROM and the incredible brand of SickKids, I knew that this was the next step for my career with new challenges and opportunities ahead.

  2. Why did you choose to make health care philanthropy your career?

    Throughout high school, I was fascinated by medicine and had the intention of entering the medical profession.  Unfortunately, my competencies in algebra and chemistry, never mind my fear of a physics class, didn’t set me up for success to pursue this line of work.  What did resonate with me later in life was the ability to help those who are treating and caring for patients as well as researching new avenues of healthcare by helping them attain the financial resources to do so.

    The most gratifying part of my job is making the connection between a philanthropist and the vision of the hospital, connecting them with world-class researchers, care givers, and educators and seeing that vision come to life because of their investment.  Whether it is a donation to renovate a space, purchase a piece of equipment, pursue research, or build capacity around the world in child health, seeing the impact and progress is one of the best parts of the job.

  3. What has been the #1 factor in your career success so far?

    Having people who believed in me from the early stages of my career and who provided me with opportunities to learn and grow.  I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors who have guided me in my career choices and have supported me in taking risks to develop new ways to strategically engage donors.  I’ve also had the opportunity to be a part of two of the largest campaigns in the arts and healthcare sectors in Canada, so the learnings have been tremendous since day one.

  4. What is your greatest passion and why?

    Throughout my career at SickKids Foundation, I have overseen fundraising for SickKids’ global initiatives.  These have taken me to Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, Barbados, and many more countries where SickKids has established partnerships to build capacity.  Children, no matter where they live should have access to paediatric expertise.  Meeting those who return to their country, after training at SickKids, to be one of few, or the only, expert in their field means that more children will have a chance at earlier diagnoses and, hopefully, successful outcomes.  At SickKids, we say “where you live shouldn’t determine if you live.” Helping to achieve this is one of my greatest passions.

  5. What are your future aspirations?
  6. To continue to be considered as a leader in the not-for-profit sector, mentor those new to the sector or are considering fundraising as a career, and building strong relationships between donors and organizations whose missions align with my values.

Colin Hennigar

Fun Fact:

Studied art and architecture in Italy during a summer as part of a double major in Classical Civilization and Fine Art History from the University of Toronto.