• Jenny Therriault

Fondation Amal bettering lives for all kids in the community

Fondation Amal, the brainchild of a dedicated young team of philanthropreneurs that represents a hard-working and hard-playing young urban crowd, is celebrating their 5th anniversary this year. Co-founder and local resident of Saint-Lazare, Jenny Therriault explains that the experience during the MBA program at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB) brought the founders together five years ago. Wanting to give back to the community and keep in touch, the foundation was incorporated.

Fondation Amal is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the quality of life of children with physical and mental disabilities and chronic illnesses through advocacy and fundraising. Having gifted over $75,000 to charities, this year funds donated will help support Centre Philou, a centre that provides around the clock stimulation, therapy, education and respite care to children age 0-15 with multiple disabilities.

As the founders are all under 35, their vision also entails encouraging philanthropy in younger generations between ages 25-39. They do so by creating unique and trendy signature events with a younger flare showcasing local talents and artisans and also by encouraging young students to understand philanthropy through internship opportunities with Marianopolis College and JMSB.

Smaller events and collaborations take place throughout the year to encourage different levels of engagement and different communities. For example, on Thursday, June 16, McKibbins Irish Pub in Vaudreuil-Dorion will be hosting a special night for the Foundation starting at 7 p.m. Having met Jenny back in high school, Sean O’Connell, co-owner and operator of McKibbins always tries to lend a hand in the community. Often hosting events for local schools and sports teams, the SPCA, l’Actuel- a local food drive, and supports Movember every year, it was a natural fit for him to support the cause of children with chronic illnesses.

As well, the foundation was also the first organization worldwide to prepare an adapted track for the Spartan race. In collaboration with the Spartan organizers, a pilot project started back in 2014 where people with physical disabilities were able to run a Spartan race. The feeling of pride and accomplishment was overwhelming when they crossed the finish line, as everyone rejoiced and lived in an inclusive moment. The next Fondation Amal race will take place at Mount Orford July 17.

Today, with the original founders careers’ leading everyone in different directions, Sherin Al-Safadi, Mirella Mokbell, Klemen Ferjan and Jenny are still hands on but rely on an ever growing and supportive team of over 13 dedicated people, including board members and many recurring volunteers, the fifth year will definitely be one to remember.

If you are interested in joining the Fondation Amal Spartan team, know someone with a disability who would like to get involved in the race or reserve a spot at McKibbins for June 16, contact Jenny at (514) 679-5471.