The Donald Family has given a record-breaking $20 million gift to Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP), in support of healthcare and healthtech programming and applied research.   

“We are immensely grateful for the Donald Family's transformational gift,” RDP President Stuart Cullum said. “With this gift, we will establish the Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation where we will bring together diverse teams of experts, practitioners, and interdisciplinary researchers, to develop and deliver innovative healthcare education, training, and applied research in Alberta."  

He added, “By supporting the health industry as it evolves beyond the status quo, RDP is contributing to the region’s economic diversification and providing the innovative solutions, education, and training that will benefit generations of residents here in central Alberta and across the province. On behalf of all of RDP’s students, staff, and faculty, I would like to thank the Donald Family for their incredible generosity and support in helping us bring this important healthtech concept to life.”   

Community leaders and philanthropists, Joan Donald, her late husband Jack Donald, and their children John Donald and Kathy Lacey, have been supporters of education and healthcare for many decades.   

“As a family, we believe in supporting our community, and one of the best ways to enrich your community is to support education and healthcare,” Joan said. “I have always felt it was very important to ensure that post-secondary education is accessible to the greater community.”   

The Donald Family Institute for Healthtech Innovation joins the already established Donald School of Business, Science and Computing, and the Donald Health and Wellness Centre on the Polytechnic’s campus.  

Joan was a member of the Board of Governors of Red Deer College, and honorary Chair of the Red Deer College Library fundraising campaign, which raised more than $7.3 million for the construction of a new library on campus.  

She was instrumental in raising money for the local Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre Foundation, including chairing the committee that helped raise funds to bring the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine to the Red Deer Hospital, and a long-time supporter of STARS as a board member and campaign leader.   

Joan and Jack moved to Red Deer in 1964, where they co-founded what’s now called Parkland Corp., the corporation behind the Fas Gas service stations.   

After her retirement, she remained active as a community volunteer, and philanthropist, receiving several prestigious awards including Red Deer Citizen of the Year in 2004, being made a Member of the Order of Canada for her lifetime of distinguished community service in 2011, and receiving the Alberta Order of Excellence Award in 2021.  

In recognition of the Donald Family’s longstanding partnership with the Polytechnic over several decades, College Boulevard will be renamed Donald Boulevard later this year.