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Donations bring Building Hope closer to its fundraising goal

Less than $1M needs to be raised thanks to two recent contributions; 'We hope the community rallies to help us close that gap,' official says
2020-11-20 Building Hope donation
The Building Hope campaign received a $25,000 boost Friday from the Mirkopoulos family. Pictured, from left, are Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, Larry Mirkopoulos, Lighthouse executive director Linda Goodall, Chrisoula Mirkopoulos, Jim Mirkopoulos, Steve Mirkopoulos and Building Hope campaign manager Lynn Thomas. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

Two generous donations have helped the Building Hope campaign reach a new milestone.

A few days ago, there was still $1 million that needed to be raised for the new Lighthouse shelter and community services hub on Queen Street. That figure is now down to six digits.

On Thursday, Tom Gibbs, business representative with District Council 46 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, presented a cheque for $10,000 to Building Hope officials on behalf of the union. That brings the union’s total giving to the campaign to more than $30,000.

On Friday, the Mirkopoulos family pitched in $25,000. That means there is $965,000 left to be raised.

“This project is very close to its goal, so we thought it was a good one to support,” said Jim Mirkopoulos.

His family runs its core business, Cinespace Film Studios, in Toronto, but also has ties to Orillia, having renovated the Tudhope building downtown. The family also operates Horizon General Contractors, which has purchased the Orillia Central School property on Coldwater Street.

When Mirkopoulos was speaking with Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, he asked about causes in town that could use some support. When Dunlop told him about the Building Hope project, he “became enamoured with it,” he said.

“It’s a part of our family philanthropy that’s important to us,” he said, noting they have also supported a shelter and a mission in downtown Toronto. “It’s to help fill the gaps.”

He joined his family members, including Steve, Larry and Chrisoula, for a tour of the Building Hope project Friday.

“It’s amazing,” said Mirkopoulos, who was impressed with the natural lighting, open spaces and family area. “There will be a lot of families reeling from a financial perspective (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic). This will be needed.”

Lynn Thomas, Building Hope’s campaign manager, was “thrilled” with the recent donations.

“Any donation is fantastic, but when we see several zeros on the end of it, it helps close that gap, and that’s our big goal right now,” she said. “Those kinds of donations also help to generate excitement in the community.”

She hopes to have most of the donations in by spring, when the new facilities are set to open. Building Hope does have a loan from the County of Simcoe — interest-free for three years — that will allow it to open without needing a mortgage. However, the more money raised in the meantime, the better.

“We hope the community rallies to help us close that gap,” Thomas said.

More information about Building Hope and ways to support it can be found here.

Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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