Sometimes a crisis defines the character of the people who rise to meet it.
Committed to transforming lives, the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation has answered an appeal from the Diamond Foundation to B.C.’s philanthropic community to transform the model of care for patients with substance use disorder – the leading cause of death of people aged 19 to 39 in B.C.
The Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation has met the challenge with a $9 million gift to Road to Recovery, a groundbreaking addiction treatment and recovery program at St. Paul’s Hospital.
In 2023, a gift from the Diamond Foundation helped to found the first-in-Canada program, with the B.C. government committing $60.9 million to operating costs.
That momentum, along with Providence Health Care’s, and the BC Centre on Substance Use’s development of this new model of care, inspired the Roadburg Foundation board to direct its attention to Road to Recovery.
“The timing was fortuitous,” says Mark Gurvis, CEO of the Foundation. “We’re coming forward at a time when a significant program like Road to Recovery is poised to make a big impact in our region, and our connections enabled us to lean in very quickly.”
Recovery for people with substance use disorder is often stalled in a system rife with interruptions in treatment and long waiting periods for referrals, beds, or community resources — putting people at greater risk of relapse and overdose.
“What attracted us to Road to Recovery is that it’s targeted at eliminating gaps in services, so when people present themselves to the system, and they’re ready to take steps they need, they can move from one stage of treatment to the next without falling between the cracks,” says Gurvis.
The Foundation’s leadership gift will support research and evaluation of the Road to Recovery model of care at St. Paul’s Hospital, which has the potential for adoption across B.C. and Canada. It will also support education and training of professionals working on advancing addiction care and treatment through the BC Centre on Substance Use.
“Road to Recovery is crucial for the one in six people at St. Paul’s Hospital who experience substance use disorder,” says Fiona Dalton, President and CEO, Providence Health Care. “Providence Health Care is so grateful to the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation for their generous support.”
The Foundation was founded in 2021 to honour the legacy of late Vancouver businessman, Ronald Roadburg.
Roadburg’s own experience overseeing his father’s Foundation gave him the foresight to direct his own legacy to fulfill the mission of Tikkun olam, the Hebrew phrase meaning “to repair the world.”
Guided by this principle that calls on the Jewish community to pursue social justice among other ways of repairing the world, the Foundation is actively working on several complex social issues, including substance use disorder, challenges facing Canada’s Indigenous communities, combating racism, and assisting minority communities in Israel.
The urgency of Road to Recovery struck a chord with Bernard Pinsky, Chair of the Foundation’s board and one of its founding directors, together with Jack Bogdonov and Stephen Gaerber. They are dedicated to ensuring that Ronald S. Roadburg’ name is associated with a better life for many thousands of people around the world.
Pinsky notes “We see it as our duty as citizens to try to help solve the increasing rates of substance use, which is one of the worst crises facing our community in terms of the number of deaths and the heavy impact on families.”
St. Paul’s Foundation extends its deep gratitude to the Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation for their generosity supporting research, evaluation, education and training for this “first-in-Canada” model of substance-use treatment. The Road to Recovery will bring hope to families. And it will build wellness and resiliency for our communities.
The Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation gift aims to transform substance use treatment across the country.