Humanity: When values drive action to meet community needs


As a society, we are constantly searching for values that define our humanity. This is why philanthropy is so important. Because, while gifts and donations provide invaluable support for essential projects, they are also inspiring examples of the basic human values of caring and commitment.

The academic world is fertile ground in which these values can grow. Activities supported by philanthropists let us make ethical choices, get closer to communities, fight social exclusion, take concrete action, and reflect on contemporary issues.

“It’s easy to get anxious when you think about our society’s major challenges,” notes Frédéric Bouchard, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Deputy Vice-Rector of Research, Discovery, Creation and Innovation at Université de Montréal. “But you can get over that anxiety simply by going to a library, café or lab where students in the humanities, social sciences and other fields are understanding and building the future.”

These projects include the ÉSOPE Philosophy Chair (the inaugural chairholder being Frédéric Bouchard), which was created with an anonymous donation of $1.5 million. This gift lets us measure benefits as well as initiate, push and provide a framework for discussions on our profound values. “Philosophy enriches people’s lives and our understanding of the world we live in,” explains Frédéric Bouchard. “We can see that the solutions to tomorrow’s challenges are being developed right now in our universities.”


  • Drive and provide a framework for social debate.
  • Train a new generation of students who are sensitive to human values in technological environments.
  • Share and spread the values of caring and commitment.
  • Support communities by developing relevant knowledge.
  • Develop human-focused solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.

Projects that help us think and act

Many other inspiring projects have also come into being at Campus Montréal. Supported by generous donations, each of these projects envisions the world through a humanistic perspective.

One example is the Chair in Diversity and Governance at Université de Montréal, which received $1.5 million from BMO Financial Group. A pole of interdisciplinary and interfaculty excellence, this chair will focus on understanding the phenomenon of diversity and the scope of its impact.

The Marguerite-d’Youville Research Chair for Humanistic Nursing received a donation of $3.25 million from five religious orders.

“Our research activities are grouped into three areas,” explains chairholder Véronique Dubé, a professor at the Faculty of Nursing of Université de Montréal. “The first area consists of a needs analysis and the development and evaluation of approaches that improve the quality of life of vulnerable people and their families. In the second area, we identify factors that help or hinder humanistic nursing. The third area consists of knowledge transfer and the use and enhancement of humanistic care.”

The Blanchard Family Chair in Palliative Care was created with a generous $1-million donation from Dr. Guy Blanchard and $600,000 from the Oblates Franciscaines de Saint-Joseph.

“It’s important to have tools that let the academic community support end-of-life care practices,” explains chairholder Jean Pelletier, Director of the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine of Université de Montréal. “A distinctive characteristic of this chair is that it brings together specialists in disparate fields, such as science or theology, to take part in social debate, which is as important as ever.”

The Essilor Group also donated $500,000 for the construction of the new optometry clinic, which also covers needs for glasses at L’extension, the interfaculty centre that supports social pedagogy and health for families in Parc-Extension.

Many talents. One planet. One humanity.

In every aspect of its mission, Campus Montréal puts human beings first. Our unifying and timeless values that transcend religions have led to projects that bring hope for the future. This vision has helped researchers learn more about the needs of communities and take concrete action to solve today's challenges.

Other impact stories