The Evans family, honouring the contributions of Dr. John Evans, a co-founder of MaRS, has donated $10 million to the non-profit Toronto organization. The money will fund the development of the MaRS Solutions Lab, a new initiative "that will help exceptional, young Canadian leaders approach complex, 21st-century challenges from an integrated, multi-disciplinary perspective."
"Today's world needs MaRS more than ever," said Dr. John Evans. "Much as this project mattered in 2000, it is even more important today. We face extraordinary challenges and opportunities, and there is no recipe book for this future. We hope the Lab will equip young people to develop inspired recipes and go out and change the world."
"What has happened over the last 10 years at MaRS far exceeds our expectations of what could be possible," said Derek Evans. "It is exciting to imagine the difference MaRS can make in the next decade, and we are delighted to invest in this future."
"On behalf of MaRS, I would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to the Evans family for this incredibly generous gift," said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District. "Dr. Evans' impact on MaRS, our community and country is profound, and we are committed to make the MaRS Solutions Lab a worthy tribute to this truly remarkable Canadian."
"John Evans is a remarkable individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to so many areas in Canada and globally," said Gord Nixon, President and CEO, RBC, and Chair, MaRS Discovery District. "He is the founder and driving force behind MaRS, and the designation of the Evans Wing is a wonderful way for us to demonstrate our gratitude and admiration."
MaRS released a statement following the donation, which highlighted how the donation will affect the organization:
The Evans family gift will support the new MaRS Solutions Lab, a fitting tribute given that the Lab's mission is tied firmly to Dr. Evans' overarching personal and professional aspiration: improving the lives of individuals and communities both in Canada and internationally. And, consistent with John Evans' approach, the Lab's mission will be fulfilled by encouraging others to stand up and lead on national and international stages.
In particular, the Lab will focus on expanding the problem-solving capabilities of young leaders who will work in the Lab as MaRS Fellows. Selected through an open competitive process, the MaRS Fellows will benefit from the unique advantages of the MaRS environment: distinguished mentors; a systems view of the innovation process; a hands-on approach to collaboration; a focus on execution; access to leading entrepreneurs and expertise covering a wide range of disciplines; connections to finance; engagement of policy makers; and a global network of sister institutions and thought leaders.
Much like a traditional science lab, the MaRS Solutions Lab will be dedicated to problem-solving in a highly experimental environment, through repeatable, rigorous protocol. MaRS Fellows will learn and grow by tackling the tough problems confronting humanity on our hot and crowded planet.