Category Archives: Fundraising

We have met our initial goal of $50,000!


Our initial goal of $50,000, set before refugees started arriving in numbers, was to sponsor a family of four. As the flow of Syrian refugees has increased, we now know the majority of families coming to Canada are between 5 and 7 members.

We’ve met the basic sponsorship amount for a family of 6 to resettle in Ontario, but the cost of living in Toronto is higher than in other Ontario communities. In addition, we’ve learned there is some question as to how much financial support the government might offer for travel and living expenses.  To be prepared for this, and for potential dental and medical expenses not covered by government programs and to be able to set up our family up for every possible success, we are raising our goal by $25,000 to build a buffer to better support the resettlement of a family of 6 or 7. 

There are more than 14 million refugees of concern to the United Nations, more than 4.5 million registered from Syria alone. If any funds are left over, they will help with the sponsorship of our next family.

Again, thanks very much to those who have contributed. If you haven’t donated yet and would like to help, please go to


Less than $13,000 to go!

Our fund-raising efforts have continued though the month of January.  After a very generous, anonymous donation of $2,500, the latest tally now puts us at $37,700. That leaves us with less than $13,000 to go to reach our goal of $50,000.

There’s still time to give if you haven’t already!  Go to to donate to find out how. 

We are still hoping to receive matching funds from the Anglican Diocese of Toronto; but the more funds we have when we apply for our matching grant, the more funds can potentially be matched.  And the more funds we have at the end of our fundraising campaign, the more refugees we can help.

If, for example, we raise in excess of $50,000 – say, $75-$80,000 – then we will be in a position to help more than one family.  Full disclosure: we would not attempt to do two simultaneously; rather, we would look at the possibility of sponsoring a 2nd family after the first one has settled into a new home, the kids are in school, ESL classes have begun, etc.   But wouldn’t it be great if we could do that?

Our first fundraising concert is not to be missed!

Valery Lloyd-Watts (Piano)

April 15th, 8:00pm, The Church of St. Mary Magdalene

This is musical event for all ages!  Valery Lloyd-Watts, internationally acclaimed Canadian pianist, and one of the world’s most influential music educators, will introduce and perform masterpieces from the classical piano repertoire. Her unique way of relating to audiences makes music come alive, even for first-time listeners.


We are also very honoured that the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, the 28th Governor-General of Canada will introduce the concert with her own reflections on why projects like ours are so important.


Want to make an evening of it?  How about dinner before the concert?

Two marvellous local restaurants – Campagnolo and The Harbord Room – have offered concertgoers a 15% discount on the night of the concert. To take advantage of this offer, you need to get you tickets in advance. Click the following button to reserve your tickets:

Eventbrite - Valery Lloyd-Watts, Piano - A Fundraising Concert for Refugee Resettlement


A New Year, and some great new developments!

Happy New Year to you all!

Since our last update to you, our focus has largely entered around fundraising.  And we have good news on this front!pls give

  • As of January 20th, we have raised over $31,000.  We had a big bump in donations in December as a result of our pre-holiday fundraising campaigns. Thank-you to everyone who contributed!
  • If you have not yet donated, please do so now.  Donations made by Jan 31 will be matched the by Anglican Diocese of Toronto. To donate, go to Also, please share this information with those you know who might  be interested in supporting us.
  • We are planning several fundraising events in the upcoming months, including:
    • A concert series to be held at SMM.  Our first confirmed Valerydate is April 15. Internationally renowned pianist and educator Valery Lloyd-Watts will present a musical event for the whole family. Valery’s unique approach to concerts makes serious classical music accessible to all, particularly to younger people. It’s an evening not to be missed. Tickets for this pay-what-you-can event will be available for advance purchase online very shortly.
    • A silent auction to be held on May 3, also at SMM. We are looking for collector quality auction items, for example, a first edition book, original artwork, or those that offer great experiences and unusual access, for example: a week at a lakefront cottage or a house in the countryside in France, a dinner party prepared by a chef, tickets to professional sports, or performing arts, garden design advice from a landscape gardener and a gift certificate for plants. If you have something like this to offer, please contact [email protected]. Donations to the auction are tax deductible (conditions apply).

As far as preparing for our family’s arrival, we are moving forward on that front, albeit more slowly.

  • We are required to attend sponsorship training before we can officially apply to sponsor a family.  Some of us have  completed our training already; the rest of us will complete it by the end of this month.
  • Everyone has had the required police background checks done and submitted to AURA .
  • We think we have temporary accommodation lined up for our family. Since we might have as little as one week’s notice of our family’s arrival, having temporary accommodations is imperative.
  • Currently, we are still aiming for our family to arrive between early and mid-spring.


Note: this post was first published earlier today … republishing due to a technical glitch related to WordPress’ integration with Facebook.

We’re more than half-way there!

I was thrilled when I got the email from SMM treasurer Anne Todd yesterday: “Allan, attached, an update to today on gifts to date for the refugee sponsorship.”, which was followed by a small spreadsheet showing that donations since my last update to you had swelled from just over $9,000 to $27,880!  This means we are more than half-way to our fundraising goal of $50,000!

Thank-you to all of you who have contributed so generously to our campaign so far.  We still have a ways to go yet, but with this amount raised, we are ready to ask AURA to start the wheels turing to connect us with a family.  Please continue to tell friends and colleagues about our campaign: post something to Facebook (along with the URL, Twitter, email your friends and family; in short, please do whatever you can to spread the word about what we’re doing.

In January, our team will be attending a training class with AURA to learn the ins and outs of what it means to be a sponsorship team, and we will be busy making plans for additional fundraising events, and our family’s arrival this spring (we hope).

Again, thanks for your continued support.


T’was the weekend before Christmas …

… and all through the house, things were pretty quiet.  My significant other had to work on Sunday. At first, I thought I’d get a head start on Christmas food preparations, and then, I thought, chuck it: it’s the last Sunday in Advent, which is a season of quiet anticipation; why shouldn’t I spend the day quietly, and not feel the need to “do something”, as is my habit?

So I went to church, and was very happy that one of my favourite hymns was on “the program”: Veni Veni Emmanuel.  (The words of the hymn are a quiet pleading for the long-promised Saviour to finally come and free his people. There’s something very contemplative and moving about the melody and words; for me, it’s a tonic for the hype and consumerism of the season.)  Then a lovely walk with my dog, and then writing some Christmas cards.  I eventually did break down and make a batch of shortbread, but I resisted the temptation to get a start on everything else on my cooking and baking list.

Things are going well with the fundraising so far.  I don’t have an exact number that I can report, as I rely on the treasurer at St. Mary Magdalene to give me a cumulative total that includes donations made by parishioners on the collection plate at the church.  But I know we’re at least $3000 richer than we were when I woke up this morning; my guess (and I will confirm when the collection plate count has been done) is that we’re around the $14,000 mark.  Which is terrific, given that we’re not even 2 weeks into our campaign!

This past week, several members of our group leafleted the houses on Manning Avenue and Ulster Street; we printed 1000 of them, and have very few left.

In addition, we were very lucky to have a donation of a number of copies of the Pax Christi Chorale’s latest CD, Winter Nights to sell to raise money: composer and choir director Stephanie Martin kindly donated over 40 of them, and we’ve sold all but 2. It’s a gorgeous CD, and if you can’t get a copy from us, I highly recommend you order one from the Pax Christi web site.

We are busy making plans for other fundraisers, from a concert series featuring world-class musicians, to a silent auction that – fingers crossed – could include a week in Strasbourg!

Thanks to everyone who has contributed thus far.  We’re heartened by response.

Let’s raise some money!

pls giveWe are well under way!  The core sponsorship team has already had two meetings, and made lots of progress. We have registered with AURA, the sponsorship agreement holder, and we are crossing many things off our our list that we need to get done early on in this project.  Our focus has been getting the infrastructure for fundraising and communications in place.  And I’m pleased to say that we are now ready to take your money!

We are aiming to raise $50,000 to support the resettlement of one large, or possibly two smaller families. The more money we raise, the more people we can help.

Click “How to Donate”, above, to learn about the different ways you can support our project.  All donations to the Manning-Ulster Refugee Project are tax deductible.