Communities Well Built: A Striking Example of the Power of Giving Back
APEGA members are known as builders of roads, bridges, processing plants, resource developments, and office towers. But many are also builders of public services and institutions—philanthropists who give generously of their time, expertise, and money to make our communities stronger.
Robert Stollery, P.Eng., was one such APEGA member. A civil engineer, he started his career at Poole Construction in 1949, became its president in 1969, and helped grow the company into one of North America’s largest general contracting organizations. You know it now as PCL, a worldwide group of construction companies.
Stollery’s professional achievements were many, but his community contributions are perhaps his biggest legacy.
Active for more than 50 years in charities that addressed poverty, early childhood education, and health, Stollery kicked off two of his biggest initiatives in 1989, a year after his retirement from PCL. He and his wife, Shirley, made a multi-million donation to launch a major fundraising campaign to build a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in Edmonton.
When the hospital opened in 2001, it was named the Stollery Children’s Hospital in honour of its initial benefactors. It’s the only specialized healthcare facility for infants, children, and youth in central and northern Alberta, serving patients from across northern Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
The same year, the Stollerys, along with John and Barbara Poole and George and Rae Poole, donated $15 million to revive the Edmonton Community Foundation. It has since granted more than $170 million to charities in Edmonton and across Canada.
Stollery’s philosophy on giving was simple:
“As far as giving back to our community, it’s a state of mind. We can make time for anything; it depends on your priorities. A few hours a week is all it takes and the payoff is the great feeling of personal satisfaction when you’ve helped someone else. Sharing is good business, whether it is with co-workers or those less fortunate.”
Noted businessman and philanthropist Robert Stollery, P.Eng., received the Order of Canada in 2001 in recognition of his professional and community achievements.
The Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton was made possible through the generosity of Robert and Shirley Stollery.