And just like that, the good folks from The Ottawa Mission left the Malhotra Family Foundation’s 9th annual Share Party on Friday night with a $100,000 donation.
That’s money that will make a huge difference to a local charity doing wonderful work to help the city’s most down-and-out population. Keep in mind, the average gift to The Ottawa Mission is $55.
“Thankfully, we have a lot of donors who help us get to where we need to go, but $100,000 represents transformational change,” Sean Wong, executive director of The Ottawa Mission Foundation, told OBJ.social.
Around 250 people attended this year’s Share Party at the Andaz Ottawa hotel in the ByWard Market.
The hosts, Louise Malhotra and her husband, Claridge Homes chief operating officer Shawn Malhotra, are co-founders of the family foundation, which also runs an annual charity golf tournament. The two events, through the backing of business sponsors, have cumulatively raised more than $3 million for local charities.
The evening is almost purely social. There is a five-minute pause to allow the Malhotras to express their gratitude and present their ceremonial cheque. "It's really fun to have a party like this to celebrate good times, knowing that we’re raising a lot of money for an amazing cause," Shawn, a 2018 Forty Under 40 recipient, said as he thanked the dozens of businesses that joined as platinum and gold sponsors.
Shawn threw in a little surprise by leading everyone in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday for his wife, who’s “turning 30 for the 10th time on Sunday”. The attention may have left Louise embarrassed but at least she wasn’t under any pressure to blow out candles on the cake, after it was paraded into the room. It came with sparklers.
For anyone not familiar with Ottawa’s real estate industry, the Malhotras are one the largest developers in town. Their family-owned Claridge Homes has built communities, condo towers and retirement homes, along with the Andaz Ottawa hotel. The Claridge Icon condo tower currently being constructed in Little Italy stands a striking 45 storeys tall and can be seen from miles away.
Louise and Shawn presented the cheque to The Ottawa Mission while joined by Shawn’s parents, Claridge Homes owner Bill Malhotra and his wife, Romina Malhotra, and on behalf of older brother Neil Malhotra and his wife, Ainsley Malhotra.
A special shout out was given to Claridge Homes sales and marketing coordinator Clarissa Steele for taking the lead in organizing the party this year.
While The Ottawa Mission is best known for providing food, clothing and shelter, it delivers a variety of programs that strive to end homelessness. Its Food Services Training Program, for example, provides men and women with a chance to learn the skills needed to work in commercial kitchens.
“I feel like a lot of you will already know the name, The Ottawa Mission, but I feel what most of you won’t know is the breadth and the depth to which they affect our community,” Louise told the room. “They look at helping how do you get a job, how do you deal with addiction, how do you deal with mental health issues. These are all things they tackle on a daily basis, and they do it with humility, they do it with patience, and they do it with kindness.”
Louise told OBJ.social that the foundation has been interested in supporting the organization ever since she met with Scott Hannant, who's now past president of the board, and got a tour of the facility a few years ago.
"They've been on our radar for a long time."