On a beautiful summer evening at Toronto’s lakeshore, the yacht Yankee Lady IV filled with people connected to Schlegel Villages in honour of the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund and the team members supported through it.
The Boat 4 Hope fundraiser first launched in 2019 with some 250 guests, eager to share an evening cruise throughout the Toronto Harbour under sunny skies. Organized by the team from The Village of Riverside Glen, the first event was a resounding success, raising $25,000 for the benevolent fund established to support team members who fall upon hard financial times due to unforeseen circumstances.
Three years later, the event was resurrected after a hiatus because of COVID restrictions and a Sunday evening in mid-July was the perfect setting as a mix of residents, team members and community partners cruised with fine food, drinks and music while dusk fell over the calm water.
Schlegel Villages Founder and Board Chair, Ron Schlegel, spoke to the guests of the legacy his father left behind as a community builder always eager to support his neighbours. Ron also spoke of the memory of his wife Barb, who passed away suddenly in March 2022. The kindness, generosity and inspiring example Barb shared with all she met, as well as the influence Wilfred had on those surrounding him, are both embodied in the Hope Fund, Ron said.
The fund symbolizes a large, extended family coming together to support others in need, and it is a worthy cause. Some of the guests on the boat that evening were team members who accessed the fund when tragedy struck. A financial donation can’t take the tragedy away, but it can ease a bit of the burden and let one know they have the support of others they may not know, but with whom there is a bond.
“The Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund inspires us to collectively care about the people that give so much of themselves to care about our residents and our Village communities,” says Bryce McBain, General Manager at Riverside Glen and one of the event’s key organizers. “When our fellow team members fall on hard times and we can support them with a Hope Fund donation, we give them opportunity to focus on what is important, their well-being and the wellbeing of their families.
“A better them is a better us.”