A fundraising campaign at Parkwood Seniors Community is underway, which will see 28 affordable units created in a six-storey, 90-unit building on its Waterloo campus, to be completed by late 2023.
According to Elaine Shantz, CEO of Parkwood and partner organization Fairview Seniors Community in Cambridge, Ont., making 30 percent of the units in the new building affordable is part of the non-profit organization’s commitment to create a sense of “community for all.”
Parkwood, a faith and values-based, senior-friendly community, already provides assisted living and long-term care. This “mixed housing expansion” will create more “integrated living, where everyone has an equal place at the table regardless of their needs,” whether those are physical, emotional, financial or spiritual. All will have access to the same amenities, including the pool, fitness facilities, and other programs, she says
Of the 90 units, 60 will be one-bedroom—32 aimed at people with modest income—while 28 of them will be affordable. Another 30 units will have two-bedrooms. The building will be fully accessible and energy efficient.
While the total cost of the project is $36.7 million, Parkwood is fundraising for the affordable housing component, valued at $11 million. Parkwood will donate land for the project, valued at $3.5 million, and contribute another $1 million from its reserves, leaving $6.5 million to be raised.
Waterloo Region, responding to the urgent need created by poverty and affordable housing, has committed $13 million for four affordable housing projects. Parkwood will get $1.9 million of that, while another $2.7 million will come from provincial and federal governments.
According to Parkwood’s fundraising brochure, this housing solution will help to relieve poverty, lessen the shortage of senior-friendly, affordable housing, and offer an “enriched retirement opportunity” for people with a range of financial needs—modest, middle and comfortable.
Another event called, Walk the Kindness Way, is also raising funds to support special initiatives at Parkwood and Fairview. As part of the organizations’ strategic planning, kindness that is aimed at self, colleagues and the community was identified as a key value. People are invited to ask the question, “What would kindness do?” in every situation.
Walk the Kindness Way was a 42-kilometre walk to raise funds for healing gardens at both campuses, where residents, staff and families can find peace and quiet. At Parkwood, the healing garden will be incorporated into the new build; at Fairview, it will be done in partnership with neighbouring Preston Mennonite Church.
The walk and the gardens it will support “exuded” all three of the kindness criteria, serving self, staff and the wider community, says Shantz.
The vision for the walk was sparked by Shantz, who has a passion for trekking, strengthening teams and building relationships.
On the weekend of Sept. 25 and 26, more than 60 walkers participated, covering the distance between Parkwood and Fairview on the scenic Walter Bean Grand River Trail. Splitting the distance over two days, the walkers got a send-off breakfast at Parkwood and a welcome lunch the next day at Fairview.
One Parkwood resident, Don Elliot completed the whole walk over the two days. Other walkers included board members, staff, church delegates and community members.
It created a “true sense of community,” according to Shantz.
As part of Walk the Kindness Way, residents at Parkwood aimed to complete 1,000 kilometres of walking around the Waterloo campus, during July and August. They far exceeded their goal; together with staff and family, they covered 8,762 kilometres, covering the 42-kilometre trek 209 times.
The goal of this year’s walk was $50,000, with half for each campus. They ended up raising $57,700.
Shantz credits Waterloo Region for being a great community when it comes to fundraising efforts like these. She says people see a need, come together, offer support and follow through. “Partnerships make us strong,” she adds, noting that it is “incredibly valuable” when people bring wisdom, experience and expertise together with a generosity of time.
Parkwood and Fairview welcome people of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures, embracing a “unique culture of kindness” while offering a range of amenities for physical, mental and spiritual care. It is “more than a place to live,” says Shantz.
The campus model of care at both places emphasizes continuity and consistency of care, allowing seniors to age in place. Fairview, which will get another 108 long-term-care beds, has been piloting a project for nearly three years through the local Home and Community Care Support Services organization that provides home care on its campus. The project has since expanded to Parkwood, which Shantz says allows for even greater integration of care.
This article appears in the Oct. 25, 2021 print issue, with the headline “‘More than a place to live.’” Do you have a story idea about Mennonites in Eastern Canada? Send it to Janet Bauman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Parkwood Seniors Community, Ruth Klassen, left, Phares Bauman, Lloyd Martin, Hilda Lorenz and Leeta Horst have room at the table where a “community for all’ model means “everyone has an equal place at the table,” no matter their physical, emotional, financial or spiritual needs. (Photo by Rachel Lincoln Photography)
Don Elliot, right foreground, a resident at Parkwood, is shown with event chair Erna Koning after he finished Walk the Kindness Way, a two-day trek raising funds for healing gardens at Parkwood and partner organization Fairview. (Photo by Chris Steingart)
Marion Good, left, Parkwood’s board chair, presents Don Elliot, a resident of Parkwood, with his medal for completing Walk the Kindness Way, a two-day, 42-kilometre trek raising funds for healing gardens at Parkwood and partner organization Fairview. CEO Elaine Shantz, right, looks on. (Photo by Chris Steingart)