Make-A-Wish was on the receiving end of a dream come true, for a change, after being selected as the beneficiary of the 8th annual SHARE Party, hosted by the Malhotra Family Foundation.
The big bash took place Friday at the Andaz luxury boutique hotel in the ByWard Market, at the corner of Dalhousie and York streets. Some 300 partygoers packed the second floor for a celebratory night of socializing, snacking, drinking and dancing.
On hand were the Malhotras, one of the most prominent real estate developer families in Ottawa. Not only do they own Claridge Homes, which builds homes and condos, but they’ve expanded into retirement residences and hotel development. Since their opening of Andaz two years ago, the hotel has become a hotspot destination with its scenic rooftop terrace.
Each spring, the family’s foundation hosts a golf tournament that brings in $250,000 for charity, followed by its autumn SHARE Party, which cuts a $100,000 cheque for another worthy cause.
Co-hosting the party were Louise Malhotra and her husband Shawn Malhotra, chief operating officer at Claridge, a 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient, and probably the most dapper man in the room, thanks to his purple velvety blazer and bow tie combo. The couple co-founded the charitable foundation.
A ceremonial cheque was presented to Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario CEO Tanya Desjardins by Shawn and Louise. Standing alongside them were his parents — Claridge Homes CEO and founder Bill Malhotra and Romina Malhotra — and his older brother Neil Malhotra, vice president at Claridge, along his wife, Ainsley Malhotra.
The Malhotras pooled together their network of friends and business contacts, resulting in 15 gold sponsors and another 14 platinum sponsors.
“From the bottom of our hearts we appreciate the generosity,” said Shawn, after some good-natured joking about how he coincided the timing of his request for sponsorship with the company’s tendering for contracts. “We’re humbled every year that this many people show up to our event.”
Guests included Minto executive chairman Roger Greenberg, who’s hoping for another Grey Cup parade through downtown Ottawa. He co-owns the Redblacks team, which will be in the championship if it wins this Sunday's Eastern Final at TD Place Stadium.
Tomlinson Group president Kevin Cinq-Mars and his wife, Sara, attended, as did hockey hero Daniel Alfredsson with his wife, Bibbi. Spotted from the ByWard Market business community were prominent restaurateur Peter Boole (Social, Sidedoor, e18hteen, The Clarendon, Jackson Café) and the always enterprising Andre Schad of Schad clothing boutique, seasonal patios Tavern on the Hill and Tavern on the Falls, and the just-opened Jasper restaurant on Beechwood Avenue.
Also spotted were architect Andrew Reeves and his wife Melissa Reeves, co-founders of Linebox Studio. It did the design on a privately funded, volunteer-driven community project led by Shawn to construct a new sports pad and field house in Rockcliffe.
Funds raised from the SHARE Party allow Make-A-Wish to grant wishes to 10 more local children with life-threatening medical conditions. While trips are very popular — particularly to Disney — there are also requests for other things, like shopping sprees, fabulous bedroom makeovers, and stepping into someone else’s shoes — such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's — for the day. Anything's possible, except for the wish of unlimited wishes.
The $100,000 donation is exactly what Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario needed, Desjardins told OBJ.social. The demands have been growing faster than available funding, and the charity currently has 125 children on its waiting list.
Desjardins had applied for a grant from the Malhotra Family Foundation and was subsequently contacted by Louise, a mother of four, with an even better offer: to be the recipient of funds raised through the SHARE Party.
The Make-A-Wish experience has such a positive impact on the health and state of mind of children, from improving their quality of life and general outlook, to building hope and resilience, said Desjardins. “It gives them a sense of humanity, that there are good people out there,” she also said, while adding that a fulfilled wish inspires many young recipients to want to give back to the cause.
Past SHARE Party recipients have included Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, Ottawa Network for Education, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, and The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.