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Guy Fréchette: a Significant and History-Making Donation

October 29, 2013, 4:30pm

On October 22, 2013, Guy Fréchette made philanthropic history with his $500,000 gift to the Campus Montréal fundraising campaign; the donation will go entirely towards the Carabins varsity sports program at Université de Montréal. In fact, it is the largest single donation ever made to a varsity sports program at a French-language university in Quebec and by one person; its value and significance cannot be sufficiently emphasized.

The impact of giving back to your alma mater

Ernst & Young retiree, corporate director, HEC alumnus and an ardent Carabins fan, Fréchette has always been a deeply involved member of the community. By way of example, he is Chairman of the Board of the Fondation HEC Montréal; he has also been a member of the CEPSUM board for a number of years and, since 2002, a Governor of the Carabins, assigned the mission of reviving the school’s football team. Aside from supporting the student-athletes, his donation will go towards enhancing and improving the varsity sports program.

“Thanks to the excellent education I obtained at HEC Montréal, I was able to pursue a successful career at Ernst & Young as a chartered accountant, before becoming Vice-President of Ernst & Young Canada and Quebec Managing Partner. This gift is my way of helping young athletes fulfil their sporting ambition in a high-quality environment while acquiring a well-rounded education at one of Campus Montréal’s three institutions: HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal or Université de Montréal.”

Fréchette’s act of philanthropy was driven not only by his desire to promote varsity sports, but also because he believes in the importance of giving back to his alma mater and hopes to inspire others to follow his lead. “As an individual donor, I wanted to give Campus Montréal a major boost that would mark a turning point in the fundraising campaign. We normally expect corporations to make big donations, but I think my gesture may have a ripple effect that will influence more alumni to make a conscious decision to support their alma mater. ”

Appreciative Carabins team members

I was particularly touched by the presence at the press conference of many Carabins athletes proudly wearing the team colours. At the end, they thanked Fréchette profusely and told them how much they appreciated his gift.

Volleyball player Vicky Savard, a UdeM student in the Bachelor of Education Secondary Science and Technology program, thanked Fréchette on behalf of the Carabins. “This is an extremely generous donation, for which all the Carabins athletes are immensely grateful. We don’t see gifts on this scale every day. It’s great to have such support. There isn’t much I can add, except to say thank you for this very special gift. ”

Swimmer Charles Francis, a member of the London 2012 Canadian Olympic swim team and an arts and science student at UdeM, said that the donation is a strong motivator and stressed the importance of giving back. “Feeling supported by someone who is already part of the Carabins family and has shown such extraordinary generosity is a huge morale booster, especially for someone like me who has been with the Carabins for a few years. You can be sure that I always give 110% when I’m in the pool. Knowing you have that support is really important.”

That gratitude was also felt by the Carabins organization; in fact, in recognition of the historic donation, the Salon Carabins will be renamed Salon Guy Fréchette.

I can only add my voice to that of the Carabins. Obviously, I want to thank him for the outstanding gift, but I also wish to underscore its symbolic importance and Guy’s appeal to alumni to give back to their alma mater. Guy, not only is your donation monumental, but I am convinced that it will have a positive influence in building a francophone philanthropic culture. Thank you.

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Photo credit: James Hajjar

Shown in photo: Guy Fréchette, centre, presenting the cheque. From left to right: John Parisella, Executive Director of Campus Montréal; Charles Francis, a member of the Carabins and London 2012 Canadian Olympic swim team; Vicky Savard, a member of the Carabins volleyball team; Paul Krivicky, Executive Director of CEPSUM.

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