It all starts with a conversation

Neighbours helping neighbours. Friends supporting friends. Community caring for community. That’s the idea behind the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) Foundation’s Cabinet – a committed team of volunteers who are opening doors and changing lives.

Cabinet members have one thing in common – they are community connectors with a passion for making a difference.  They believe in giving back to create a better community. And they are doing so by sharing the QCH story and the value of philanthropic support.

Josh Zaret is one of the newest members of the Cabinet and his connection began right next door. His neighbour, Dr. Rajiv Prihar, is a surgeon at QCH. “Raj has talked to me about all the things that QCH has been doing to fight COVID-19, from setting up an off-site hospital to leading the testing and vaccination clinic. I’m in such admiration of the work they do. When you see your neighbour’s lights on, and you know he’s still at the hospital or working away at the kitchen table, it’s inspiring.”

Josh Zaret, QCH Foundation Cabinet Member

Josh is no stranger to hard work himself. He has donated his support and time to many Ottawa charities and causes, including raising significant funds for the Ezer Mizion bone marrow donor registry in honour of his buddy and Ottawa personality “Stuntman” Stu Schwartz. Their work helped to directly save six lives.

Josh was recently named President of Gemstone Corp., a family-owned and operated real estate company. As an entrepreneur and busy dad with three young children, he says he likes a challenge.

“When I was asked to join the QCH Foundation Cabinet, I was pretty candid in saying that now may not be the best time to ask people for money. But actually, now it’s more important than ever. And QCH has a wonderful story to tell. It’s rewarding to work with people like that.” – Josh Zaret

Alan Whitten, Cabinet Chair, has a much longer history with QCH. He joined the Foundation Board in 2009 and served as Chair from 2013 to 2016. “I remember the first time I was told that our provincial government provides hospital operating dollars, but does not fund the purchase of new equipment,” he recalls. “That struck a chord with me. The community literally needs to come up with the money to support these vital needs.”

And Alan says he has no qualms about asking for help. As a Partner with Huntington Properties, his expertise is in raising capital for real estate ventures. He puts that same experience to use as a Cabinet member. “I have a lot of experience asking for money,” he smiles. In fact, he helped to secure the five-million-dollar transformational gift that led to the naming of The James Beach Health Care Centre.

Alan Whitten, QCH Foundation Cabinet Chair

Alan says it’s all about attitude.

“We are not asking for ourselves. We’re asking for our community. The hospital needs support and equipment. Health care is so important, and I’m always amazed at the innovation and professionalism of the QCH team. I’m happy to make those connections.” – Alan Whitten

Cal Kirkpatrick believes in donating in his own backyard – literally and figuratively. He grew up in the neighbourhood right next door to QCH and was 16 years old when the hospital opened. “I played a lot of sports in high school and spent a fair bit of time in Emergency. I knocked-out a tooth, needed stitches on my chin, and x-rays for sprained limbs” Cal recalls. “Even at a young age, I liked the feel of the place.”

Cal went on to study urban planning with a keen interest in commercial real estate. In 1988, he joined the Colonnade Group of Companies and has served as President of Colonnade Development for the past 30 years.

Cal Kirkpatrick, QCH Foundation Cabinet Member and Board Member

Throughout his career, Cal’s connections with his local hospital continued. Fast forward a couple of decades. Cal was playing golf with a friend who told him about the Acute Care of the Elderly – or ACE – Unit. “The support that QCH was providing to seniors in our community really resonated with me so I met with the Foundation staff to learn more. From there, I was all in.”

Cal has served on the QCH Board of Directors for the past five years and says he will continue on as a Cabinet member when his Board term ends:

“My Board involvement has validated my original belief. QCH is a special place doing excellent work. The team is amazing. I want to support them in any way I can and I’m honoured to inspire others to do the same.” – Cal Kirkpatrick

Alan Whitten recently took over the chairmanship of the Cabinet from Ron Prehogan, who served as Chair since 2008.  He was an incredible asset to our Foundation and our community. The Foundation is very grateful to Ron for his 12 years of outstanding service. We would also like to salute our other amazing Cabinet members for their generous support and contributions to our hospital and Foundation. Thank you to Karen Sparks, Ed Herweyer, Doug Hewson, Art Slaughter, Ryan Kelahear, Jennifer Spallin, Fred Seller, Kevin Pidgeon, and Ronald Richardson.

The Cabinet plays a special role at QCH Foundation.  It’s all about connections – linking family, friends, colleagues, and community.  And we are grateful to these committed community volunteers who lead the way.

To learn more about our QCH Foundation Cabinet or how you can support our Foundation as a volunteer, please contact Catherine Harwood at or 613-581-2248.