WRAR Grants $45,300 to Nine Local Shelter-Based Charitable Organizations

Region of Waterloo, ON (January 24, 2023) – The Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS® (WRAR) recently visited nine local charitable organizations to deliver cheques totaling $45,300.  

WRAR and its members are proud to support shelter-related charities across the region through the Ontario REALTORS® Care Foundation (ORCF). The grant funding comes from the $2 per member per month WRAR donates as part of the ORCF’s Every REALTOR® Campaign which ensures investments are made back into our local community. Shelter is defined as a refuge, haven, or protection that provides or improves the quality of life from hunger, the elements, physical/psychological abuse, disabilities, and illness.

The successful recipients of WRAR’s 2022 grants were: 

      • Cambridge Shelter Corporation
      • Child Witness Centre
      • Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region
      • Indwell
      • Lutherwood’s Safe Haven Youth Services
      • Shelter Movers
      • The Working Centre
      • Hospice Waterloo Region
      • The YMCA of Three Rivers

In the Fall of 2022, WRAR launched a social media campaign promoting the available grants and encouraged local charities to apply. “After speaking with representatives from a wide array of shelter-based organizations and hearing about the increased demand for their services, it was clear we needed to help,” said WRAR President, Megan Bell. “There is no doubt that the lack of affordable housing options and overall rise to the cost of living is contributing to the number of people within Waterloo Region facing housing and shelter challenges. We’re thrilled to support these amazing organizations operating in our community.”

In addition to the year-end Every REALTOR® Campaign donation, the Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS® donated over $71,000 in 2022 to support other local charities on behalf of its REALTOR® members through its annual REALTOR® Run, Charity Golf Tournament, and additional fundraising events.  

WRAR believes that healthy communities are made up of a strong economy, safe neighbourhoods, a clean environment, access to housing and shelter, as well as adequate employment within the region.

Quotes From Our Grant Recipients:

Pictured left to right: Megan Bell, President (WRAR) and Wayne Paddick, Executive Director (Cambridge Shelter Corporation)

“The grant received through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation will be used to jumpstart our new social enterprise, In Our Backyard (IOB). IOB will provide work opportunities for those experiencing homelessness right here in their community to provide them with the skills and means to move into long-term housing. We want to thank the ORCF for their generous gift and look forward to reporting back when the new project launches.”

          – Wayne Paddick, Executive Director (Cambridge Shelter Corporation)

Pictured left to right: Ryan Dufton, Communications and Events Coordinator (Child Witness Centre), Bernadette Behm, Board Chair (Child Witness Centre), Christal Moura, President-Elect (WRAR), and Megan Bell, President (WRAR)

“The $4,000 we received from WRAR and ORCF will support local children and youth who have been hurt and harmed, and their caregivers, from the time of criminal investigation through to a court resolution. Young people will have their voices heard while experiencing a safe landing place, compassion, and guidance. Thanks to WRAR and ORCF, multiple young people will experience a brighter future and our community will be better for all.”

          – Linda Mark, Development Manager (Child Witness Centre)

Pictured left to right: Phillip Mills, CEO (HFHWR), Megan Bell, President (WRAR), and Christal Moura, President-Elect (WRAR)

“Our long-standing partnership with WRAR has allowed us to continue pushing ahead with our vision that everyone deserves a safe place to call home. WRAR’s commitment to affordable housing, and the ongoing support of our organization, means that this donation will allow us to impact so many more families here in Waterloo Region. For that, we are incredibly thankful.”

          – Phillip Mills, CEO (HFHWR)

Pictured left to right: Megan Bell, President (WRAR) and Mark Willcock, Community Engagement Coordinator (Indwell)

“Indwell is extremely grateful for the grant of $6,500 from the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation for our work in Waterloo Region. This grant will be put towards Indwell’s capital budget at St. Peter’s Church at 49 Queen Street in downtown Kitchener. At this location, Indwell will be adaptively reusing the church facility and converting three-quarters of the building into 41 units of supportive affordable housing. Indwell’s portion of the building will also include program space for tenants, a computer lab, commercial kitchen, laundry room, and other tenant amenities.”

          – Mark Willcock, Community Engagement Coordinator (Indwell)

Pictured left to right: Mary-Jo Shearer, Donor Development Manager (Lutherwood), Megan Bell, President (WRAR), and Christal Moura, President-Elect (WRAR)

“This grant from Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation will ensure youth have access to prevention services, including support looking for alternatives to shelter and referrals to community resources that can help with their immediate crisis.”

          – Mary-Jo Shearer, Donor Development Manager (Lutherwood: Safe Haven)

Pictured left to right: Megan Bell, President (WRAR), and Courtney Waterfall, Chapter Director (Shelter Movers)

“We are so grateful to receive funding from the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation. These funds will be used to move approximately 16 survivors of abuse and their families as they transition to a life free from violence, eliminating the financial and logistical barriers to leaving and ensuring our clients do not have to sacrifice their personal belongings by choosing to leave.”

          –  Courtney Waterfall, Chapter Director (Shelter Movers)

Pictured left to right: Joe Mancini, Director (The Working Centre), Megan Bell, President (WRAR), Christal Moura, President-Elect (WRAR), and Katherine Bitzer, Project Developer (The Working Centre)

“We are incredibly appreciative of this funding through the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation which will be used to support our Making Home project. With a growing encampment across the street from our 97 Victoria Street, Kitchener campus, The Working Centre is planning a one-year rebuild that repurposes our current building into 44 units of affordable housing and a new home for St. John’s Kitchen.”

          –  Joe Mancini, Director (The Working Centre)

Pictured left to right: Megan Bell, President (WRAR), Tracy Helm, Director of Fund Development (Hospice Waterloo Region), Melissa Parker, Donor Relations Manager (Hospice Waterloo Region), and Christal Moura, President-Elect (Hospice Waterloo Region)

“This grant from the Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS® will go towards helping Hospice Waterloo Region continue to provide essential services and programs for families and caregivers, free of charge, at The Gies Family Center in Waterloo. These services include professional counselling and emotional and group support for those who are caring for a loved one, and for those who are coping with loss during a time of grief and bereavement.”

          – Tracy Helm, Director of Fund Development (Hospice Waterloo Region)

Pictured left to right: Jayden Attridge, Director of Camp Waabanaki (YMCA of Three Rivers), Megan Bell, President (WRAR), and Lauren Kteily, Director of Camp Ki-Wa-Y (YMCA of Three Rivers)

“YMCA of Three Rivers thanks Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation for their support towards making Camp Wabanaki a more inclusive space. As we move forward on a journey of justice, accessibility, inclusion, diversity, and equity, we have engaged Indigenous elders to better understand our use of language, signage, and structures, like our historical tipis. We’re taking action on several recommendations, including replacing the tipis. This gift is an important step towards this reconciliation, and will foster a more inclusive and respectful environment where all campers feel welcome and secure.”

          –  Caitie Wright, VP of Outdoor Services (YMCA of Three Rivers)

For more ways to help these participating charities, please visit their websites:

The Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS®️ (WRAR) is a new association that has been formed through the recent amalgamation between the Cambridge Association of REALTORS®️ and Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®️. We have a new name, a fresh start, but the same awesome REALTOR®️ community—just better together! While WRAR officially began offering member services on August 1, 2022, the two previous associations have over 150 years of combined experience. We are proud to support the needs of REALTORS®️ and brokerages serving one of Canada’s fastest growing and thriving communities—Waterloo Region.  

The term REALTOR®️ is a trademark identifying members in good standing of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) who provide real estate brokerage services in compliance with CREA’s By-Laws and Rules, the REALTOR®️ Code, and all applicable federal and provincial laws and regulations. WRAR’s MLS®️ System is operated in association with the MLS®️ marks owned by CREA. An MLS®️ System includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS®️, and ensures a certain level of accuracy of information, professionalism, and co-operation amongst REALTORS®️ to affect the purchase and sale of real estate.