Over 60 Royal LePage agents and brokers trek the Purcell Mountains to raise life-saving funds for women’s shelters across Canada
Royal LePage Shelter Foundation’s 2021 ‘Challenge for Shelter’ raises more than $750,000
TORONTO, September 16, 2021 – On August 17th, 66 Royal LePagers from across Canada completed a gruelling six-day trek through a remote region of Purcell Mountains near Golden, British Columbia, in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Collecting donations and sponsorships prior to the adventure, participants raised more than three-quarters of a million dollars. Funds will be split between each trekker’s local women’s shelter(s) and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation’s National Fund for Violence Prevention in support of programs that teach youth in Canada how to build healthy relationships and avoid violence in their lives.
“We at Royal LePage are extremely proud of our ongoing efforts to end domestic violence in Canada through our Shelter Foundation,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage, who participates in each trek. “The dedication of our agents to this vital cause is unmatched; and it is heartwarming to see the challenges that our trekkers take on inspire their Royal LePage colleagues. Together they raise the funds so urgently needed to march towards a future in which our communities are a safe and joyful place for everyone. Royal LePage covers all administrative costs of the Foundation so every dollar donated goes straight to supporting women and children fleeing violence.”
The Challenge for Shelter is a bi-annual fundraiser that began in 2015 and has raised over $3 million to date. Previously, the event has taken participants through the mountains of Machu Picchu (2015), the glaciers of Iceland (2017), and the Sahara Desert (2019).
“This was by far the most physically challenging trek we’ve done,” said Carly Neill, fundraising and communications manager, Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. “The terrain and the elements were extremely difficult, but it was wonderful to see the trekkers encourage one another and embrace the extent to which they were out of their comfort zones. In fact, it was the toughest parts that really brought teammates together. And, we were so well cared for; the camps each night were restorative, and the guides and support staff were so skilled and personable.”
Neill, who has completed all four challenge treks, noted that planning this year’s adventure was made even more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right up until the day we departed, the pandemic created a level of uncertainty, but everyone who participated complied with very strict health and safety protocols, including rapid testing. Ultimately, our shared priority was clear – to raise much-needed awareness and funds for shelter organizations that desperately need support, especially this year when rates of domestic violence have increased. It really speaks to the commitment and the character of our agents that they were willing to go out and fundraise at least $5,000 and pay for all of their trek expenses out-of-pocket, not knowing if the hiking adventure would be possible come August,” said Neill.
Unlike previous treks which allowed for porters, during the Purcell Mountains Challenge for Shelter, each trekker carried their own camping and survival gear, through wind, rain, snow and lung-searing smoke from wildfires. Participants agreed, however, their struggles were nothing compared to those of women trapped in abusive relationships or those fleeing with just the clothes on their backs. That was part of the motivation for one Winnipeg agent who raised more than $120,000, a Challenge for Shelter fundraising record.
“I had a goal in mind, and I knew that I could achieve it by having real conversations with the people in my life,” said Chris Pennycook, sales representative, Royal LePage Dynamic Real Estate. “Rather than send an email to my entire contact list, I picked up the phone and called several people individually. Once I explained what I was doing and why I was doing it, everyone was happy to donate. Their generosity will go a long way in helping many women and children escape domestic violence.”
Pennycook said he has wanted to participate in the Challenge for Shelter in past years, but never signed up for one reason or another.
“I’m too busy. I’m too old or out of shape. It was easy to find excuses. But this year, I decided to really go for it! I hired a personal trainer and committed to a regimented workout schedule. I walked 50 to 60 kilometers a week, many times with my pack on. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I could really make a difference for some of the shelters in Winnipeg that are helping women and children escape violent situations. It was such a humbling experience.”
The Challenge for Shelter is sponsored by TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialists and Sagen. To learn more about the trek, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation or to make a donation, visit rlp.ca/shelter.
To view a collection of photos taken by the trekkers, please visit rlp.ca/sf-challenge-photos.
About Royal LePage
Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country’s leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of over 18,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women’s and children’s shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Bridgemarq Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE. For more information, please visit www.royallepage.ca.
About the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
Because we are committed to strengthening the communities where we live and work, Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company with its own charitable foundation. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.
Every dollar raised goes directly to helping the more than 50,000 women and children who are served each year by the shelters and support programs we fund. Since 1998, the Shelter Foundation has raised $35 million and currently supports 200 local women’s shelters and national partners. Our agents donate a portion of their commissions and Royal LePage offices across Canada hold local fundraising events. Our brokers, agents and staff also volunteer and provide in-kind goods to benefit the women and children residing in their local shelters.
For further information, please contact:
North Strategic on behalf of Royal LePage