The Chartwell Foundation is guided and overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors who have a passion for making people’s lives better.
Brent Binions, Board Chairman
Board Chairman Brent Binions’ inspirational leadership and vision of making dreams come true for Canadian seniors led to the establishment of Chartwell’s charitable wish granting mission in 2015.
“My favourite wish was granted to a senior in southwest Ontario,” says Brent, past CEO of Chartwell Retirement Residences. “During a Java Music Club coffee chat, a resident mentioned that he had an older sister who had more or less raised him as a child. But she had married a man in the army who moved her away and refused to let her have contact with her family. Pat had not seen his sister for 50 years.”
“The quick-thinking Activity Aide at the residence realized immediately that this could be a wonderful wish if we could find his sister. It was discovered that she was in a long term care home in northern Ontario. Pat and Dorothy began to communicate by letters and soon thereafter, he was flown to northern Ontario with his son for a reunion with her. I had the privilege of meeting with him just before he left and the smile on his face was everything this Foundation is about.”
Jonathan Boulakia was moved by the story of wish recipient Dennis, who postponed travel adventures until retirement. As that day neared, a stroke drastically transformed Dennis' life and pushed his dream out of reach. The support built into his wish allowed him, his son and grandson to visit the windswept beaches of New Brunswick where, at age 67, he saw the beauty of an ocean for the very first time.
“I loved this wish,” says Jonathan, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Investment Officer and Diversity & Inclusion Lead for Chartwell Retirement Residences. "It reminds me of how fortunate many of us are and how important it is not take that for granted. Seeing pictures of Dennis’ excitement at experiencing the vastness of the ocean truly touched me.”
“I believe The Chartwell Foundation’s mission of granting wishes to seniors is very important,” says Diana Artuso, Senior Vice-President of Finance at Chartwell Retirement Residences. For Diana, family means everything and wishes that reunite loved ones or bring multiple generations together to share an experience especially touch her heart.
“We should honour and show gratitude to seniors for everything that they have done for us. Their wishes are part of their legacy, and we are honouring them.”
Marie France Lemay
For Marie-France Lemay, Vice President, Operations and Sales in Quebec, “There’s no greater joy than to see the lifelong wishes of seniors come true.” She was particularly touched by Benoit’s dream of rekindling his great passion for hockey by meeting Sidney Crosby, star player and idol of an entire nation, alongside his children.
“There’s no age limit to achieve your dreams and fulfill your passions. Having the chance to make them come true as a family like Benoit did is all the more extraordinary, as it creates lasting memories,” she said.
“Fulfilling wishes for seniors reminds us that the value of the human spirit in pursuit of curiosity, connection and overcoming a barrier or pursing a passion never goes away,” says Sharon Ranalli, VP Marketing & Communications, Chartwell Retirement Residences.
“It is how we say thank you and ‘You are worth it!’ to a generation that deferred much and asked for so little. I have been a part of wish-granting at Chartwell since its inception. I see every wish through the eyes of the recipient, while also witnessing the powerful impact on everyone it touches, including family members, our staff and those who help make the wish happen.”
Amie Wilker has been helping make wishes come true for two decades. Starting out as a recreation manager at a seniors’ residence back in 2004, she asked her grandfather to make a wooden wishing well and invited residents to drop in their wishes. “Having dreams and wishes gives us hope, drives our purpose and propels us to achieve these great moments that define us,” says Amie, now Director of Regional Operations for Chartwell Retirement Residences.
“I believe you can achieve anything you dream of at any time in your personal journey. It is never too late to live out a dream you desire. Overcoming obstacles only makes them that more rewarding.”