BY LAURA TESTER
Pictured above: Gord and Kathy Bontje with their sons Steven and Adam at ABW’s “An Evening of Gratitude” (missing daughter Emily and son-in-law Ross)
A Central Alberta home builder has given $500,000 to a well-known Central Alberta-based international development organization as part of his 60th birthday celebrations one year from now.
Gord Bontje, founding partner of Laebon Homes, said the $500,000 donation to A Better World Canada is already in use towards school projects in Kenya and Rwanda.
The large donation was announced during A Better World Canada’s Evening of Gratitude donor-recognition event in Lacombe last Thursday night. More than 120 people gathered to celebrate Legacy Circle members who have donated more than $12 million total to A Better World.
These Legacy Circle members comprise of 62 individuals and groups, most of whom are from Central Alberta, who have contributed a minimum of $50,000 to the charity.
“I am blessed and I wanted to share that blessing, locally and globally,” said Gord Bontje at the event.
Bontje said he had already been thinking how he might want to celebrate his 60th birthday on Nov. 27, 2017. He told his wife Kathy that he would like to have his birthday party in Kenya where they have sponsored dozens of projects through A Better World Canada.
He later discussed with Eric Rajah, co-founder of A Better World Canada, of his desire to give a “substantial donation” in honour of his approaching milestone.
It’s one of the most significant donations ever given to A Better World which does humanitarian work in Central Alberta and around the world, including Kenya, Bolivia and Afghanistan.
Bontje, a humble man, said this gift is not about him.
His heart is towards “helping the developing world” and he hopes to inspire others to give as well to such a worthy cause.
“I’ve been blessed and had good fortune in my life,” said Bontje at his Red Deer area office. “I want to give of my success.”
Rajah said the gift is a “very generous and compassionate gift” from Gord Bontje and his wife Kathy.
“They’ve given more than $1 million total,” said Rajah. “They’re not just about the money. They regularly meet with me about the projects and Gord has travelled over to Kenya several times to see how his money is making a difference.”
Laebon Homes was created 40 years ago in the Red Deer area. This past July, it received a coveted Avid Benchmark Award presented to eight homebuilders across Canada.
A Better World Canada was formed 26 years ago and its management, executive director and board are 100 per cent volunteers. It invests in education, health, water, agriculture and income generation while partnering with local communities to establish long-term development.
Donors can get directly involved in projects to help decide how their money is spent. They often visit projects and meet local people to see the returns on their investments.
Click here to see some of the Bontje’s projects.
Click here to read “Laebon Homes founder donates $500,000” by The Red Deer Advocate
Click here to read “A Better World recognizes donors” by Lacombe Express