Wilfred Schlegel was a farmer, a businessman and a pastor, all wrapped up in one “very interesting package,” as his grandson Jamie says.
“Throughout his life, the common theme was an interest in providing leadership to build a strong community,” Jamie recalls. “He was a community builder at heart; he had an interest in and spent his life serving others and an interest in helping those in need. That’s what motivated him in life and gave his life meaning.”
In all aspects of business, the Schlegel Family seeks to honour the spirit of Wilfred’s legacy, and that extends to the breadth of the vast community they have built in Schlegel Villages. Countless times that community has shown its strength when team members have fallen on difficult times. They’ve faced illness or the sudden loss of a spouse, and more than one house fire over the years has reduced a family’s world to ashes. Countless circumstances have risen to force immense strain upon team members’ ability to support their families, and countless times the villages have responded with generosity and compassion – this is simply what a strong community does.
The responses, however, have been inconsistent from village to village. The compassion is there, but the funds are sometimes limited. In February, the Wilfred Schlegel Hope Fund was established in an effort to ensure that funds would be available to match the spirit of generosity and compassion ignited within the village when a friend is in need.
It is a benevolent fund, voluntarily paid into by payroll deduction, which in turn is matched by the Schlegel family – a dollar becomes two thanks to the legacy of Wilfred Schlegel. While it’s still early in the fund’s establishment, the intention is for funds to be allocated on an “as needed” basis, as decided by a committee of team members and leaders who assess individual requests.
“We thought it would make more sense to think systematically and consistently and hopefully more effectively about how we respond to those team members in need,” Jamie says, noting the funds will be available to all team members from all villages, including leaders and members of support office, if they are in need, regardless of whether they contribute voluntarily to the fund or not.
“We are super excited about honouring Grandpa’s legacy and more excited about finding new and better ways to help team members who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances.”
This spirit of true community motivated Wilfred in life, and it continues to shine brightly today in the Hope Fund that bears his name.