Twelve local leaders, including the president of Canada Life and a former London police chief, will be working to turn an anonymous $25 million donation to address the city's homelessness crisis into $35 million.
The Health and Homelessness Fund for Change announced on Friday its volunteer fundraising committee. Canada Life President and COO Jeff Macoun will co-chair the team alongside the anonymous donor of the $25 million.
The pair will lead the ten other committee members in raising $5 million additional dollars for the fund. That money would then be matched by the anonymous donor to bring the fund's total to $35 million.
“This initiative is about more than one individual or organization. It’s a rallying call for Londoners to unite and face this challenge together because it impacts all of us," said Macoun. "Our committee's goal is to gather even more support for the health and homelessness plan because we all have a responsibility to help where we can, and to strengthen the community for those who came before us and those who will follow.”
Other members of the committee include former London Police Chief Murray Faulkner, retired Orthopedic Surgeon Bob Bourne, Business Cares Food Drive Chair Wayne Dunn, President of the London Economic Development Corporation Kapil Lakhotia, and past Chair of London Community Foundation Grants Committee Jill Wright.
“By stepping up to raise essential funds, these local leaders are ensuring that everyone in our community can access the care, support, and housing they need to thrive," the anonymous donor said in a statement. "As we invest together in this new system, we will help alleviate suffering, save lives, and build a healthier, stronger and safer London.”
The $25 million donation and matching promise were originally announced by Mayor Josh Morgan during his State of the City address earlier this year. The Fund for Change was then created.
Money donated to the fund will be used to bankroll the city's Health and Homelessness system response, a groundbreaking approach to tackling homelessness that was developed in consultation with more than 200 individuals from nearly 70 organizations between last November and this past January. The plan includes the creation of 10 to 15 homeless hubs that would offer shelter, transitional beds, access to support services and health care, as well as 600 highly supportive housing units. The first three to five hubs are anticipated to open in existing spaces by the end of the year.
Approximately 2,000 people are considered to be homeless in the city.
The Fund for Change fundraising committee members are as follows:
Jeff Macoun - President & COO, Canada Life
Bob Bourne - Retired Orthopedic Surgeon, London Health Sciences Centre
Wayne Dunn - Chair, Business Cares Food Drive
Keith Gibbons - Chair, Board of Governors, Western University
Murray Faulkner - Retired Chief of Police, Past Honorary Colonel, 31 Service Battalion
Kapil Lakhotia - President & CEO London Economic Development Corporation
Graham Porter - Retired Partner, Lerners LLP
Chirag Shah - Partner, PwC Canada
Bob Siskind - President, Decade Group
Peter Whatmore - CBRE Chairman, Southwestern Ontario
Jill Wright- Past Board Member London Community Foundation & Past Chair of London Community Foundation Grants Committee