Edward Wiltzer: A passionate philanthropist
Edward Wiltzer has been involved with the Jewish General Hospital and the JGH Foundation for the past 18 years. Now, as Chairman of the Foundation, he discusses his passion and why he has placed such emphasis on philanthropy and the well-being of others.
Giving to others
Since he was young, Mr. Wiltzer has understood the importance of giving back to people who are close to him, as well as to society at large. "The community has always been good to me,” he says. “I am able to give back, and I know that I will be serving the public and giving the best of myself for as long as I can."
Previously, Mr. Wiltzer became one of the youngest chairmen of Federation CJA, an organization that preserves and strengthens the quality of Jewish life and involvement in Montreal, Israel and around the world. He was also President of the Congregation Beth Tikvah in D.D.O., as well as becoming involved with Miriam Home and Services, a rehabilitation centre for people with intellectual disabilities and pervasive developmental disorders.
In addition to a busy working life, Mr. Wiltzer has always been able to rely on his family, his greatest pride. From his marriage to Heleena 54 years ago, his three children: Allan (Anna Sue Greenberg), Lori Ann (Michael Fellner) and Mark (Jacqueline Gilbert), eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Developing his salesmanship qualities
In 1996, along with his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. Wiltzer founded Mark Edwards Apparel Inc., which became a leader in the design, production and sale of ladies’ clothing, shoes and accessories. Thanks to the entrepreneurial skills of its owners, the company’s products are now found in many high-end stores in Canada, the United States, Europe and the Far East.
"The company has a bright future, with the next generation taking over,” Mr. Wiltzer says with pride. “I worked very hard over the years, and I can now enjoy retirement."
Active in the Foundation
In 2003, the JGH Foundation launched the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in its history. With Mr. Wiltzer and the late Morton Brownstein as Co-Presidents, the Capital Campaign raised approximately $200 million over the next 10 years to support the excellence of the hospital. In recognition of his remarkable efforts, Mr. Wiltzer received the 2011 Distinguished Service Award, the hospital’s highest honour.
Mr. Wiltzer was happy to serve as Vice-President for several years, and it was only in 2015 that he accepted a new challenge by becoming Chairman of the Board of the JGH Foundation. In this capacity, he sits as an observer on the Board of Directors of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. "By taking a role in this organization, I can promote the Foundation to the team of accomplished managers who are doing such great work," he explains.
Doing his best for the Foundation and the hospital
"Over the years, the JGH has been able to do some exceptional work with the support of the Foundation,” Mr. Wiltzer says. “During the past 50 years, the Foundation is proud to have raised approximately $953 million for this purpose. However, we have a duty to maintain and improve what has been done until now, in order to maintain our position of leadership in our field."
While tough economic times and a reduced commitment from the government make funding difficult, the Foundation and the hospital must maintain their efforts, he insists. For this reason, it is essential to bring to everyone’s attention the full potential of research, new medical equipment and technological breakthroughs, in a context where people are living longer while hoping to stay healthy.
"Searching for financing is a long-term sales effort, but as a die-hard philanthropist, I know it is possible to maintain this commitment,” Mr. Wiltzer concludes. “We will meet our ambitious financing objectives by promoting our hospital, our successes, what we do best, and above all, the daily commitment of our physicians, researchers and all of our employees."