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COVID-19 Didn’t Stop the 2020 Kent Great Big Dig

Online Digital Match raises more than $400,000 for the IWK

Halifax, NS (November 26, 2020) – Members and friends of the Atlantic Canadian construction community did not let COVID-19 stop them from supporting the IWK in a big way this year. Instead of the usual fundraising dinner and auction, the Kent Great Big Dig Online Digital Match took place from November 3-5. Sponsors matched all online donations over the three days and combined with the generous support of the community, the event raised an incredible $402,284.

“One of the key words for businesses in 2020 has been pivot, and that’s exactly what our Great Big Dig steering committee did,” explains event chair Rene Cox of Iron Maple Constructors. “We knew an in-person gathering had to be put on hold this year, but we also knew just how important it was for us to find a new way for our sponsors, the construction industry and its friends to support the IWK.”

The funds raised through the digital match campaign will allow the IWK to purchase several pieces of urgently-needed medical equipment, including a ventilator for the IWK’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

IWK patient and the online host of this year’s Kent Great Big Dig, Van Bernard, knows just how important ventilators are—he was placed on a ventilator during surgery and while recovering in the PICU. Thirteen-year-old Van has Spinal Muscle Atrophy (SMA), Type 2—a genetic condition that affects every single muscle in his body. He also has scoliosis—a side-to-side curve of the spine that causes pressure on his organs and affects his ability to breathe.

“It’s kids like Van who inspire the community to continue to dig deep for the IWK. While COVID-19 has changed our world, what hasn’t changed, and what won’t ever change, is that our Maritime women, children and youth need the IWK and they need it to remain exceptional,” says Jennifer Gillivan, President & CEO, IWK Foundation. “The Kent Great Big Dig is an example of the difference that can be made when competitors and friends join together in support of a common goal. The outstanding generosity of everyone involved is making a positive impact in the lives of patient families at the IWK and that’s really what it’s all about.”

Every year, the Kent Great Big Dig for the IWK demonstrates the generosity of the Atlantic Canadian construction industry by raising funds for IWK Health. Over the last 19 years, the event has raised more than $4.5 million. In addition to title sponsor, Kent, the Great Big Dig was supported by a multitude of organizations including media sponsor CTV Atlantic. For a full list of event sponsors, please visit


About the IWK Foundation

The IWK Foundation is a champion of excellence in women's and children's health and medicine and works in partnership with the IWK Health Centre to support their vision of providing quality care to women, children, youth and families in the Maritime Provinces and beyond. Our donors are passionately committed to making a difference for Maritime families, contributing more than $13 million in support of the most urgent care priorities at the IWK last year. Funds raised also support the IWK's global leadership in research and knowledge sharing, which in turn improves lives worldwide

For more information, please contact:

Kelly Duggan
Advisor, Stakeholder Relations & Public Affairs
IWK Foundation