With gratitude and appreciation for our community

A holiday message from the WE-SPARK team

We can all look back, knowing with great certainty, that 2020 was a test of our courage, determination, and resiliency.

In March, Windsor-Essex launched its first health institute, at the same time a world-wide health crisis was at our doorstep. It was something we would have never anticipated, but all of you - healthcare providers, researchers, educators, students, volunteers, and our Windsor-Essex community - quickly stepped up to meet the challenge.

We launched our COVID-19 Rapid Response grant call and applications poured in. We were overwhelmed by the home-grown, innovative ideas, awarding over $400,000 in local grants with more than 100 collaborators. Some projects focused on the effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and healthcare workers. Some dissected best practices to help small businesses overcome crises. Others contributed toward the evolution of the testing process with a portable Lab-on-a-Chiprapid PCRenvironmental testing and serology. You created locally-made hand sanitizers, engineered hands-free door handles and produced evidence based home-made masks for our community. These are just a few examples of the immense collaborative efforts put forward by our community partners to better our community.

Thank you to the visionary leaders of our four partner institutions for surpassing all expectations of what we can accomplish. Thank you to the dedicated and hardworking front-line workers throughout the community who continue to carry us all through. We are grateful to all those in Windsor-Essex who continue to support our healthcare leaders and each other through these difficult times.

Henry Ford is noted for saying, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This is more than just our history, it is who we are.  We look forward to achieving more together in 2021.

On behalf of myself and our WE-SPARK staff, we wish you peace, health and happiness. You inspire us all. Stay safe and we’ll see you in 2021.


Dr. Lisa Porter
Executive Director