Many people in Hamilton remember Robinson’s, the department store that graced James Street South for nearly 100 years. The store is now gone but the legacy left by G.W. Robinson, through his daughter Kathleen McBride, will be felt in Hamilton for many years to come.
When the last member of the McBride family passed away in summer 2004, HCF became the final beneficiary of Kathleen’s estate. At $11.7 million, the gift is the largest ever unrestricted donation to the Foundation. Rather than leave directions on how the gift was to be used, Kathleen had decided, at the suggestion of her professional advisors Del Hickey and his son Tom, to trust HCF to direct the funds based on community needs and priorities.
“HCF appeared to be the perfect vehicle. Because we couldn’t predict what the community needs would be by the time the estate was settled, she made a gift with no restrictions on it,” estate lawyer Tom Hickey recalls. “Kathleen McBride was very community minded and always supported major community endeavours – quietly and behind the scenes. She wanted her estate to go to charity and trusted HCF to use it wisely.”
In a similar vein, the estate of Kathleen’s husband, Robert McBride, had earlier identified HCF as a capital beneficiary. After Robert’s death in 1965, Del and Tom Hickey managed the investment of the estate monies. When Kathleen passed away in 1986, a $1.2-million gift was made to HCF from Robert’s estate. A team headed by Tom Hickey then continued to manage the other estate funds.
The long stewardship of the McBride family estates, which has spanned Tom’s 35-year career, has been concluded with a gift that will help to meet the community’s most pressing needs for generations to come.
“Mrs. McBride was a patient and appreciative woman,” Tom says. “She had been brought up to be careful and responsible about her wealth. She was truly generous but never showy. She had no interest in a public profile.”
“People in this community who have a sense of obligation and gratitude can find at HCF an incredible breadth of community activities to support. Mrs. McBride’s gift will make a difference in Hamilton forever.”
Excerpt from 2004-2005 Annual Report