Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada


MS research to get major boost from Waugh Family Foundation

  • National News Release

Multiple Sclerosis Research to get major boost from Waugh Family Foundation

$2M gift will build world class research program in Winnipeg

November 12, 2015 - Winnipeg, MB - The University of Manitoba and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada are pleased to announce a $2 million investment in multiple sclerosis (MS) research from the Waugh Family Foundation. The gift will support a new endowed research chair in MS and MS Research fund at the University of Manitoba as part of the Front and Centre campaign.

The new MS Research Chair, which will be named for the Waugh family, will take the University’s outstanding MS research program to the next level. The Chair will build a world class research program in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences, leading a team of researchers who will make significant contributions to our knowledge of the disease. The dedicated research fund will provide financial support for new studies and projects at the University.

“My family and I are proud to stand with the University of Manitoba and the MS Society to help end MS. It is our hope that this gift will build on the University’s outstanding MS research program, and eventually lead to a cure,” says Rick Waugh, O.C., president of the Waugh Family Foundation.

Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is estimated to affect more than 3,400 Manitobans and 100,000 Canadians.

“MS is Canada’s disease – we have the highest rate in the world. The disease commonly affects young adults between the ages of 15 and 40, who live with the effects for their entire lives,” says Yves Savoie, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada. “It is imperative that we do whatever it takes to improve treatments and to find a cure, and I applaud the Waugh Family Foundation for choosing to make this very important investment.”

“The University of Manitoba is enhancing its expertise by attracting and retaining innovative researchers in areas in which we are poised to lead. MS research is one of these key strengths,” says David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba. “This generous gift from the Waugh Family Foundation, and our resulting partnership with the MS Society of Canada, will help Manitoba researchers to make new discoveries that enhance our understanding of the causes of MS and have a positive impact on its treatment.”

In the last several years, the University of Manitoba has transformed its MS clinical and research programs, obtaining more than $13 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other national and international organizations, including the MS Society.

“The Faculty of Health Sciences is already home to a number of internationally recognized MS specialists. Experts including Dr. James Marriott, Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, Dr. Reza Vosoghi, and Dr. Michael Cossoy will benefit immeasurably from the Waugh family’s support, which will secure our standing as a premier centre of MS research and clinical care in North America,” says Dr. Brian Postl, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Vice Provost (Health Sciences).

The University of Manitoba plans to grow the endowment for the Chair to $5 million and is working with additional donors to secure this funding. The Chair will be recruited in 2016. Of the $2 million gift, $1.5 million will be directed to the University to support the Chair while the remaining $500,000 will be held by the MS Society to fund research projects at the University of Manitoba.


The Waugh Family Foundation is a Canadian private foundation established in 2011 and based in Toronto. Founding Members are Rick and Lynne Waugh. The Waugh Family Foundation's mission is to make grants to Canadian registered charities and qualified donees in the areas of social services, health and education.

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada provides services to people with MS and their families, and funds research to find the cause and cure for the disease.

The University of Manitoba is the province's only research-intensive university, educating the majority of professionals in Manitoba. The University of Manitoba is a trailblazer in many areas of learning, research and discovery, well-placed to encourage debate and discussion around the understanding of human rights, peace and justice.

Front and Centre is the University of Manitoba’s fundraising campaign. With a fundraising goal of $500 million—the largest philanthropic investment in the history of our province—we have identified campaign priorities that will ensure our province's long-term economic, social, and cultural vitality. We have identified five campaign priorities: Indigenous Achievement, Graduate Student Support, Research Excellence, Outstanding Student Experience, and Places and Spaces.

The campaign aims to raise $80 million in support of the Research Excellence pillar. This gift from the Waugh Family Foundation supports the University's efforts to build its expertise by attracting and retaining innovative researchers to support major projects. The most talented graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will aspire to work alongside these researchers as they pursue new discoveries and career opportunities.

For more information, please contact:

Lindsay Gulin, Specialist, Media Relations, MS Society of Canada
416-922-6600 ext. 3245

Sean Moore, Marketing Communications Office, University of Manitoba

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