Honouring strong ties to the community that embraced his family
Ten thousand dollars can buy you a decent used car. Maybe a trip to Europe and certainly a few months’ worth of groceries. However, for Kareem and Souhaila Saickley, $10,000 in 1954 provided them an opportunity to leave Lebanon for the opportunity to build a future for their family in Canada.
Years later, the residents of Ottawa would reap the benefits of that decision, in terms of the Saikaley family’s deep commitment to community development and philanthropy here.
“I was born and raised in Ottawa,” says Charles Saikaley, Kareem and Souhaila’s son. “All my children and grandchildren were born in Ottawa, and we are very happy and proud of that.”
It is that love for family and that pride for community that resulted in a recent decision by Charles and his wife Majida to contribute $1 million to The Ottawa Hospital’s Campaign to Create Tomorrow.
Charles was a real estate lawyer and partner with Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall. He retired from law and now runs Saickley Enterprises Ltd., the family company that owns and manages several apartment buildings in the city. With four daughters and now three granddaughters, Charles says he recognizes the importance of building one of the most modern, patient-centred, and technologically advanced hospital in the country — right here in Ottawa.
“We have all been part of the Ottawa healthcare system,” he says. “It is important that all residents of Ottawa and eastern Ontario be able to benefit from a new state-of-the-art hospital, and I hope it will benefit my children and grandchildren long after I’m gone. I hope this gift will be a teaching moment for my children and others about the need to give back to the community.”
The family also hopes their gift will inspire others, especially those in the Lebanese community, to contribute to the campaign. It is the largest in Ottawa’s history and sets in motion a vision to completely reshape healthcare by building the most technologically advanced hospital in Canada and by taking groundbreaking research and innovation to unprecedented heights.
“I think it is important for the Lebanese community that major gifts like these are recognized and are symbolic of the philanthropy of those people of Lebanese origin living in Ottawa.”
But most importantly, Charles says he wants this gift to be a legacy for their family, a way to honour the Saikaleys’ strong ties to the very community that embraced a young Kareem and Souhaila so many years ago.
Sadly, Souhaila passed away ten years ago, but to the end, she remained proud of the life she gave her children and proud of the community her family helped build.
Charles and Majida’s gift is the latest example of the impact their extended family has had on our community over the years and their dedication in continuing to see it thrive. “I felt it was important, if we are able to, that we should give back to the city in some form or another.”
Join the Saikaley family in helping create a better tomorrow through a donation today.
About the Campaign to Create Tomorrow
The Campaign to Create Tomorrow is the largest fundraising campaign in our region’s history. It will help fulfil the most ambitious vision ever for the future of The Ottawa Hospital, focused on four critical pillars.