HSBC Bank Canada's donation to support UBC initiatives in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

The University of British Columbia today announced that it has received a $2.17-million donation over seven years from HSBC Bank Canada to support two innovative community initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

HSBC’s donation will support the UBC Learning Exchange, enabling it to expand its partnership with the Vancouver Board of Education and bring more UBC student volunteers into inner city schools and to continue offering free educational resources to Downtown Eastside residents. The donation will also support the UBC Faculty of Medicine, which is conducting cutting-edge addictions research in the Downtown Eastside in partnership with St. Paul’s Hospital.

Expected to positively impact as many as 10,000 local children and youth over the next seven years, the gift is the largest UBC has received from a financial institution and the largest ever received by the UBC Learning Exchange.

“We applaud this exceptional commitment by HSBC Bank Canada to community engagement and mental health,” says Prof. Stephen Toope, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through this gift, ‘the world’s local bank’ will make an important positive impact here in B.C. and around the world.”

Building on HSBC’s foundational support of the UBC Learning Exchange, this gift will enable hundreds of students to act as tutors, role models, and mentors to inner-city children and youth, inspiring them to learn and to stay in school. As well, the gift will support the Learning Exchange’s highly valued Computer Skills Workshops and its innovative ESL Conversation Program, in which English-speaking, lower-income individuals facilitate English conversation sessions for immigrants.

“We are delighted that our donation will support Learning Exchange programs, which help community members enhance their employable skills; and engage UBC students to mentor youth in literacy, math and science,” says Lindsay Gordon, President and CEO of HSBC Bank Canada. “A good role model can help young people realize their full potential.”

The donation will also establish the HSBC Fellowship in Addiction Research at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. The Fellowship will be awarded to a UBC Faculty of Medicine post-doctoral student who will work with people affected by addiction and mental health disorders in the Downtown Eastside and surrounding areas of Vancouver.

The recipient of the fellowship will work with Dr. Michael Krausz, the inaugural Providence Health Care BC Leadership Chair in Addictions Research, a joint-chair between UBC and St. Paul’s Hospital. Krausz is a world authority on addictions treatment and a noted psychiatrist and researcher.

“We are also very pleased that our donation will support the UBC Faculty of Medicine with the establishment of the HSBC Fellowship in Addiction Research at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver,” Gordon says.

HSBC Bank Canada’s support for UBC is extensive and has included the establishment of the HSBC Professorship in Asian Commerce, the permanently endowed HSBC Undergraduate Awards and HSBC Emerging Leader Scholarships, and previous funding towards the UBC Learning Exchange.

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UBC Learning Exchange

UBC’s Learning Exchange is a community engagement initiative based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The Learning Exchange Trek Program brings students and other members of the UBC community to inner city schools and non-profit organizations where they contribute to community programs while learning about important social issues.  The Learning Exchange is a catalyst for the growth of Community Service Learning at UBC.

Learning Exchange Storefront Programs offer free educational resources to people who live and work in the Downtown Eastside and other inner city neighbourhoods.  Storefront programs include computer training and access, and ESL conversation groups.

Dr. Michael Krausz, Department of Psychiatry, UBC Faculty of Medicine and Providence Health Care BC Leadership Chair in Addictions Research, a UBC and Providence Health Care chair based at St Paul’s Hospital

By supporting the work of Dr. Krausz, the HSBC Fellowship in Addiction Research will contribute to further building a world class addictions research program and help address issues in downtown Vancouver. With a close integration of research, better services and teaching this work aims to educate the experts of tomorrow and attract international graduate students to work in BC.

HSBC Bank Canada

HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, has more than 260 offices, including over 140 bank branches, and is the leading international bank in Canada. With around 8,500 offices in 86 countries and territories and assets of US$2,422 billion at 30 June 2009, the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations.


Basil Waugh
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2048
Cell: 604.219.8077

Ernest Yee
HSBC Bank Canada
Tel: 604.641.2973