Close to 400 guests gathered on Oct.20, 2014 at the Montreal Science Centre for a fundraising benefit to mark the Old Brewery Mission’s 125th anniversary and the official launch the Old Brewery Mission Foundation’s 2014-2020 Major Fundraising Campaign. Louis Audet, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cogeco, accepted to chair the major donors’ component of this campaign expected to raise a total of $55.5 million over the next six years in an effort to end homelessness as we know it in Montreal.
“Support among the business community for the cause of homelessness is nothing new. The Old Brewery Mission Foundation has built strong relationships with many major donors over the years. I was particularly impressed with the Mission’s ambitious goals, which not only include alleviating the suffering of homeless persons in Montreal, but seeing an end to this social problem. I am very optimistic about the success of this campaign, which is unprecedented in the organization’s history,” said Louis Audet.
“With the funds raised during this Major Fundraising Campaign, the Mission hopes to improve its existing programs and services while creating new initiatives to help homeless men and women reach their full potential and return to mainstream society. Our goal is to end the ‘revolving door’ syndrome that keeps homeless people trapped in the shelter system,” underscored Marie Claire Morin, Executive Director of the Old Brewery Mission Foundation.
“The Foundation is proud to support the Old Brewery Mission in its efforts to make important strides in addressing the problem of chronic homelessness. Proof that the Mission’s services and initiatives are bearing fruit: more than 600 homeless people leave the streets annually and regain the road to autonomy, thanks to the Mission,” added Rick Leckner, Chair of the Old Brewery Mission Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Under the theme of the Old Brewery Mission’s 125th anniversary, the event reminded guests about the Mission’s beginnings while highlighting its constant evolution. In fact, the Mission was founded one cold winter’s day in 1889 by local women Mina Douglas and Eva Findlay when they started offering warm meals to the city’s poor. The two women set up a kitchen in a vacant building that once housed a brewery. Thus, the Old Brewery Mission was born.
“Today, 125 years later, the Old Brewery Mission is still a safe sanctuary and a symbol of hope. But the reality confronting homeless people has changed a great deal over time, and so have we. In the past few years, the Mission has broadened its vision while shifting from a reactive approach to highly proactive work with people facing homelessness,” explained Eric Maldoff, Chair of the Old Brewery Mission’s Board of Directors.
“Homelessness is not a given and no person should have to experience it for more than a few weeks. Please join us to turn homelessness into a thing of the past,” added the President and Chief Executive Officer of Old Brewery Mission, Matthew Pearce.
Emceed with warmth and humanity by Isabelle Maréchal, the event also featured the comedic talents of Sugar Sammy and gathered well-known personalities such as Lise Watier and the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre.
The Old Brewery Mission Foundation would like to thank the event’s Honorary Chair, Serge Gouin, the organizing committee Chair, Dominique Lambert, and the Patrons of Honour for their trust in the vision of the Old Brewery Mission. The Foundation also wishes to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of its donors, partners and volunteers.
Funds raised at the event, over $440,000, were donated the Old Brewery Mission’s Services for Women.
The Mission’s 125th Anniversary Patrons of Honour are: Ann and Denis Barclay, Andrée (1932-2011) and Roger Beaulieu (1924-1992), the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, Morrie M. Cohen, Marcelle and Jean Coutu, Jacqueline and Paul G. Desmarais (1927-2013), Ronald E. Lawless, Patricia and Donald Mackenzie (1925-1999), Jill and Derek Price, Ken Reed (1932-2006) and Shirley Reed, Lise Watier and Serge Rocheleau, Meredith and Lorne Webster (1928-2004) and L. Campbell Webster.