Donations bring smiles to charities

Three local organizations have received sizable donations after the local Tim Hortons smile cookie campaign raised more than $73,000 in September.

Half of the money was donated to Brandon Area Community Foundation (BACF) and the remaining half was split between the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba and the Brandon and District United Way.

The BACF is “very honoured” that Tim Hortons chose the organization to receive the $36,500 donation, said executive director Laura Kempthorne.

This is the second year in a row that Rhonda Pardy, franchise owner of the Tim Hortons restaurants in Brandon and several others throughout Westman, chose BACF as a recipient of her restaurants’ smile cookie campaign.

Tim Hortons and the BACF collaborated closely during the entire campaign, including choosing the recipients of the other $36,500.

“We worked like crazy to get as much cookie sales and corporate sponsors on board as possible, because nobody likes sharing a really small pot. We wanted to grow the donations as much as we could,” Kempthorne said.

Both Pardy and Kempthorne credit the corporate sponsors of the event, who matched the cookie sales of each day of the week with a donation of their own. The sponsors included Premier Financial Services, Cardinal Capital Management, MNP, Guild Insurance Group, Compass Credit Union, Westoba Credit Union, Sunrise Credit Union, Murray Chev Olds Cadillac, and MyPhone.

Tim Hortons has been a benefactor of the United Way for many years, said Cynamon Mychasiw, the chief executive officer of the non-profit organization.

“They’re incredible supporters,” she said. “[They’ve] just really hit the mark with the smile cookie campaign, and we are so grateful to be able to receive a portion of that because we know how much work they put into it.”

The $18,334 donation will go toward programming that will focus on the working poor, specifically younger people, in the new year, Mychasiw said.

Choosing the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba to be the other recipient of $18,334 was a decision that was very close to Pardy’s heart. Her father Merv Dillabough, who died in 2011, was “very passionate” about the organization, she said. The same was true of her brother-in-law Vince Crisanti, who died in 2015, and her husband Craig, who died the following year.

“My dad … and my brother-in-law were sponsors of the fair, and my husband as well. We have such great memories, as a family, going to the fair since our kids were tiny,” Pardy said. “Each of our kids took a round on the heavy horse with dad, riding the rings after the competitions.”

Pardy’s nephew, Craig Crisanti, recently stepped down from his role as board president of the Provincial Ex, which he had held since 2020, and will remain on the board as past-president.

Now, a new generation of passionate Provincial Ex sponsors are rising up in Pardy’s family, including grandchildren.

“We’re still making memories. It’s wonderful,” she said.

The Provincial Ex will use the donation for its “Maintain the Glory” endowment fund, which is in place to upkeep the historic Display Building II, also known as the Dome Building, and to assist with its maintenance costs. Through a collaboration with the provincial government and the BACF, every $2 donation to the endowment is matched by $1.

“This makes a huge difference to our investments and overall stability going forward,” Kathy Cleaver, current board president of the Provincial Ex, said in a press release Wednesday. “We are so grateful to the Tim Hortons group for their much valued, continuous support.”

Cleaver didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun