By Katie Neustaeter, Refraction Communications
The incredible acts of generosity that both Kelson Group Property Management and the extended family behind it are known for are only surpassed by the reputation of humility with which they are done. You don’t have to speak with a member of the Fawcett family for long to figure out that they are genuine, earnest and dedicated people.
Fairness, accountability, caring, teamwork and service are the core values that Kelson Group has built their company on. One building and one employee at a time, those priorities have created a standard that transfers beyond their impeccable care for their tenants and over to the ways in which they care for the wider community.
From its first management property in 1974 to its more than 60 residential and commercial real estate properties across Western Canada in 2019, the family-owned Kelson Group has always prioritized safe, clean and attractive rental homes, while also anticipating and responding to the greater needs of the people who live in their buildings.
As he turns 80 years old this month, Kelson Group Founder Ron Fawcett continues to serve as President and leader of the organization, maintaining the company’s high standards while also empowering his successors to carry on the established tradition of community care.
“We consider all of our commitments long term,” says son and Kelson Group Vice President, Jason Fawcett. “We’ve never sold a building that we’ve purchased because when we commit and invest, it’s for the long-haul. That’s the tone that leadership has set and we will continue. We hope that also speaks to how much we appreciate the people who live with us and want to acknowledge that we’d be nowhere without them.”
Kelson Group believes in caring for people beyond the four walls they live in and knows that every aspect of a person’s life affects their overall wellness. “We always want our residents to know that we contribute to the community because we care about helping people live well in all capacities,” continues Fawcett. “We want to promote and be examples of good neighbours, because that allows people to live happier lives.”
To that end, Kelson Group has recently announced that they will be committing $1.5 million to the Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) Patient Care Tower through a multi-year donation. The money is being specifically earmarked to support the expansion and modernization of the Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Department of the hospital.
While this is the largest single gift that RIH Foundation has received from the company, both Kelson Group and the family that propels it are already one of the Foundation’s largest cumulative donors. Their support includes the Rae Fawcett Simulation Centre and Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic at RIH which have both had a tremendous impact on patient care and staff training in the hospital.
RIH Foundation CEO, Heidi Coleman explains, “When I spoke to the Fawcett family about the need for new space for mental health services at RIH, they immediately asked: ‘how can we help?’ I am delighted that they chose to support this worthy project and appreciative of Kelson Group’s involvement in so many community programs that benefit the citizens of Kamloops and the region.”
Kelson Group’s philanthropic initiatives reach far beyond the hospital and into all of the communities where they have properties. Thompson Rivers University, Boys and Girls Club, Kamloops Symphony, Western Canada Theatre, BC Wildlife Park, Kamloops Film Society, local United Ways, the performing arts and many other causes have also been significant benefactors of their generosity and vision.
Because of that dedication to purpose, in our region the name “Kelson Group” has become synonymous with a fundamental commitment to helping people not just live, but live well. This $1.5 million donation to the RIH Patient Care Tower will continue that legacy by improving RIH’s ability to care for those who need critical mental health support.
“We believe that mental health is becoming increasingly important to focus on for the overall health of our communities,” says Fawcett. “We see how declining mental health affects our residents and the people in our communities and we want to help. With a broad demographic in our buildings we want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to house people well while providing the supports they need.”
The statistics now say that one in five Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lives – that’s approximately 45,000 individuals in our region with that number expected to grow. In the Kamloops area alone, the need for inpatient beds for mental health patients is expected to increase by 47% over the next 20 years*.
“People should have access to help when they need it and we should have compassion when things aren’t going well for others,” says Fawcett. “We ask ourselves, ‘How can we give people who are struggling the opportunities they need to get back on track?’ We want to see people succeed and that means having timely access to professionals who can show them how to get better.”
That attitude of compassion will change the lives of many people, and no one knows that better than those who work on the front lines. “The Patient Care Tower Project is going to modernize the MHSU Department at Royal Inland Hospital,” says Debi Morris, Health Service Administrator, MHSU Interior Health West. “Our inpatient unit was built in 1962 and needs updating. The new department will be an inviting, calm and therapeutic environment where patients can be cared for in the spaces they deserve. Our exceptional staff will be able to provide a high level of care in a fresh and modern setting. The new floor will have private patient rooms, comfortable lounges, outdoor courtyards and lots of natural light—all conducive to healing and recovery. We are extremely grateful to Kelson Group for their generous support of our new department.”
Kelson Group, who continue to diligently support RIH both monetarily and through service on its Board of Directors, does so because they know the value of investing in the overall wellness of people. Fawcett explains, “The new Patient Care Tower is key to ensuring that the hospital is a first-class facility that is able to deliver critical services to our community for generations to come. This is a long-term investment that we’re happy to be a part of with this donation as we strive to help all people live well.”
It’s reassuring to know that if and when we or the people we love need help, RIH will be better equipped because of the commitment and generosity of the Fawcett family and Kelson Group.
* 2016-17 Facility Profile, Interior Health