When asked what has motivated his family to give $6.3 million to St. Paul’s Foundation, BC resident Ken Shinozaki offers a simple reply. “It’s time for us to give back to society.”
The desire to improve the lives of those who need it most has led Shinozaki and his wife, Junko, and their two children to a lifetime of giving that totals more than $6.3 million. Their recent donation to St. Paul’s, which will support the hospital’s greatest needs, is the latest in a long list of contributions the family has made to health care in BC over the past decade.
Shinozaki immigrated to Western Canada from Tokyo, Japan in 1978, drawn to the region by its stunning vistas and access to nature. He quickly established an export company with international reach in Japan, Asia, and European countries, which he ran for more than 40 years until retiring in 2020.
Giving back to support the greatest needs
While Shinozaki has never sought recognition for his family’s donations, he hopes that sharing their story will shed light on how giving generously can change lives for patients and their families— and inspire others to consider making their own contribution.
In deciding where the gift would be allocated, it was critical to Shinozaki that their donations support the most urgent patient needs.
To this end, he collaborated with the team at St. Paul’s to provide targeted and immediate donations that ensured maximum patient impact. Those areas of giving include (but are not limited to) Lights of Hope annual campaign, supporting the hospital’s greatest needs; Seniors Care and Health and Aging; the IBD Centre of BC; and Digestive Health Centre on the Jim Pattison Health Campus.
In particular, the need to support seniors is a topic close to Shinozaki’s heart; the 78-year-old grandfather recently became a caregiver to a lifelong friend. “One of my friends whom I’ve known for almost 40 years, he does not have any family. He’s been alone, alone, alone,” Shinozaki says.
When his friend’s health began to decline, Shinozaki found him an available room at a care home close to his residence in North Burnaby where he can receive support, and most importantly, build connections.
Having recently retired, Shinozaki reflects that there might be a time when he needs similar support. “But not too soon”, he laughs. For now, he and Junko spend most of their weekends in nature: exploring trails in the North Shore and Fraser Valley, or skiing and snowshoeing with family and friends in Whistler, Pemberton, and Mount Baker.
“I’m very lucky to live in Canada. The nature here is so beautiful. When I feel stressed, I go outside, and it cleanses me,” he says. “I wanted to do something to give back to this place.”
A lasting impact on BC’s most vulnerable
The Shinozaki’s generous donations will support the development of the Shinozaki Family Centre for Healthy Aging within the new St. Paul’s Hospital & Health Campus, a sprawling 1.2 million square foot acute care hospital attached to a world-class research hub located in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats neighbourhood that is set to welcome patients in 2027.
The Centre will provide ‘wrap around care’ to seniors, helping them manage their health, prevent a hospital stay or a premature long-term care admission, and support aging in place.
The new hospital will also house the Shinozaki Family Wellness Garden, which will provide a space for patients and their families to seek peace and comfort during treatment.
St. Paul’s Foundation is deeply grateful to the Shinozaki family for their generosity, which has changed the lives of patients and improved patient care for countless individuals at St. Paul’s and beyond.
Join us on this important journey and learn about opportunities for giving through the link below.