The following is a letter from Jane Adams, the President and CEO of Surrey Hospitals Foundation:
Dear Surrey Hospitals Foundation supporters,
My dear colleague, mentor and friend, Don Hickling, has tendered his resignation, effective October 6th, 2023. After 24 highly successful years on the front lines of fundraising, Don is moving to his third career; his first was banking, his second was fundraising. He is rounding out his life experience in a third chapter by leading a healthcare foundation that grants exclusively to healthcare.
I met Don in the ‘90s when I arrived at St. Paul’s. I walked into my new office as CEO and there was the best dressed man I had ever encountered in the field, wearing sharp cologne with his hand up asking not what I could do for him, but what he could do for the organization and our patients. He taught me a lot about the thoughtfulness we should all apply to our daily work.
Fundraising was a second career for Don. He made the career switch after a personal experience with healthcare.
Don’s father received a kidney transplant at St. Pauls. To manifest his gratitude to the hospital and its staff, Don joined the Auxiliary as a volunteer. While in this role, fueled by gratitude and conviction, he recorded the Auxiliary’s highest gift cart sales.
This story personifies why Don is so effective as a fundraiser. The same care and passion he put into the running of the patient cart, in his free time, he also brings to his relationships with donors and colleagues. He is innately curious and interested in all; in his orbit from donors to colleagues and beyond. Don has moved mountains for donors. He is present for them in ways I’ve never experienced elsewhere.
He’s been present for his team, too—always asking how we are and looking for ways to help; whether that’s with an encouraging quote, or even helping to buy a car. Those of us who’ve known Don a long time know what I am talking about.
Everything I know about building and sustaining relationships, I’ve learned from Don.
Don is very well read and enjoys quotes. Here is one that applies to him. “Never was so much owed by so many.” This applies to Don’s herculean work at St. Paul’s, where he built one of BC’s leading major gift and planned giving operations. His banking background enabled him to structure amazing gifts that had tremendous benefit for donors.
He also built the Surrey Hospitals Foundation’s major gift program. In repeated donor surveys, Surrey Hospitals Foundation receives 96% for excellence in customer service. These results reflect the standards set by Don.
Don and I started as strangers. We respectfully disagreed and sparred many, many, times—all in the interest of donors and patients.
Don, yours is the most enduring professional relationship of my career. Thank you and good wishes.