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June 14, 2019

A $40 Million Dollar Give Back #WeAreVaughan

The other day, I blogged about being a leader. One thing I didn't mention was that leaders tend to hang out with other leaders. There is an unspoken (or spoken) appreciation for one another, for their hard work, for the way they inspire and use their authority to make a difference.

One such leader that brings that out (for me) is the mayor of my city, Maurizio Bevilacqua. Do you know, that in the 10+ years I've known him, Maurizio has never declined an interview, a quick chat or even selfie. He treats every person with honour and respect, and as a result, he gets so much more in return.

At his annual Mayor's Gala, also dubbed the Spirit of Generosity, the crowd of 1000 hung on every word as our leader talked about his parents in Italy, his upbringing, the way he learned about hard work and service.

He spoke about humble beginnings, the strength of character and generosity of spirit, of giving back and of helping one another. Since 2011, the Vaughan Mayor's Gala has raised more than $30 million for local non-for-profits and community organizations.

And then, a historic moment for our City -- Mario and Nick Cortellucci, long-time supporters of the City, announced a $40 million donation to Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital.

And I, along with many in the room, gasped.

This donation brings our hospital build fundraising total to $160 million, raised so far. The Mackenzie Vaughan is slated to be completed in October 2020. 

In addressing the crowd, Mario Cortellucci said, "Life is a journey. There is not much you can expect from life, but rather, what life expects from us." Cortellucci says the donation is a thank you to his community, his province and his country. 

And as I stood there, capturing footage, I teared up, because I couldn't help thinking about that young mom who spent 7 weeks straight at our local hospital watching over her preemie. I think about the hours we spent in the hallways, walking by other patients, wondering their stories and if they'd be going home soon.

And so, I say thank you. Thank you from that mom, that patient, that baby. Thank you from the community, from the City, the Province, the Country. This donation, along with the millions of dollars raised so far will make a difference.

Thank you to our leaders, our donors, our philanthropists who work develop and grow our City, but who also give back to those less fortunate.

Thank you for giving back.

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