Featured Donor Stories

A huge thank you to the Brownlee Family Foundation for their transformational $2 million gift

Thanks to Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee’s critical timing of this generous gift, the YWCA is able to move forward with the greater scale of the expansion project: 35 new self-contained and multi-bedroom units – giving a place and time for women and their families to regroup and rebuild.

“We are investing in the YWCA Saskatoon because we want to help change lives in the community,” said Ina Lou Brownlee. “We hope this gift will inspire others to help more women and children.”

The Brownlee Family Foundation gift means the YWCA Saskatoon can more than double our capacity so we can welcome more women and children in their time of need.

Bruce and Marlene Loraas & Family contribute extraordinary $1,000,000 to Hope Lives Here

Long-standing Saskatoon family, helmed by Bruce and Marlene Loraas, contributed an extraordinary $1,000,000 to the Hope Lives Here campaign. The YWCA Saskatoon Childcare Development Centre will be named in honour of the family and is a fully licensed childcare facility designed to provide a safe, healthy, and happy place for children. It complements the home setting, providing a warm, caring program that concentrates on the needs of young children and involves parents in their child’s experiences.

Bruce was born and raised in Saskatoon while Marlene grew up on a farm near Milden, Saskatchewan. Marlene earned a Home Economics degree from the University of Saskatchewan and taught the subject in Saskatoon for a number of years before becoming a full-time homemaker. Bruce and Marlene raised their two children, Aaron and Jess, in Saskatoon.

Bruce launched Loraas Disposal Services in 1965 and successfully grew it over the next 55+ years. Bruce’s hard work, dedication, persistence, and integrity are attributes that he learned from his father, a Saskatoon businessman, and he integrated these values into his own business.

When Bruce and Marlene’s son, Aaron, came to work at Loraas Disposal he witnessed these values in action. Philanthropy was always top of mind and therefore always in the budget. Friendship Inn, Saskatoon Interval House, The Lighthouse Supported Living, and the SFBLC were some of the local organizations supported by Loraas Disposal under Bruce and Aaron’s leadership.  The father-son team felt that the business was successful because of the community that supported them, and they wanted to give back.

Loraas Disposal’s relationship with the SFBLC extended beyond simply monetary support. The company provided in-kind disposal services for decades and staff often organized food drives for the food bank.

Upon the sale of Loraas Disposal in 2022, the family remained steadfast in their commitment to philanthropy. The Loraas’s decided they would carry forward the same philosophy and focus support on organizations providing essential services to families and children. The YWCA Saskatoon’s campaign to help more women and children move forward on a path to hope, health, and healing was a natural fit for the Loraas family.

Aaron Loraas sums up their philosophy succinctly: “Philanthropy should be full circle; if you’re doing well, the onus is on you to give back. Many of us take it for granted that we have a meal on the table but not everyone does.”

Proud members of the Saskatoon community, the Loraas family say it’s the people that keep them here. “We are a tight-knit community that looks after each other and we are proud to be part of it.  Going forward we will continue to support the community as best we can.”

Bruce and Marlene Loraas and their family’s remarkable generosity exemplifies their commitment to the betterment of Saskatoon.

Helping One Woman at a Time – Olivia & Greg Yuel Family and PIC Investment Group Donate $1,000,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign

Driven by the belief that a community is strengthened and enlarged when all people have what they need to survive and thrive, Olivia and Greg have demonstrated a long history of helping others. Learning about the 4,235 women and children turned away at the YWCA Saskatoon last year, Olivia and Greg saw an opportunity to make a difference, one woman at a time: their family and PIC Investment Group are contributing a total of $1,000,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign.

“We witness the sober reality for so many women and children in the community,” said Olivia. “The YWCA’s programs have proven themselves effective, and are unfortunately, equally proven to be required for a long time. There is no speculation or uncertainty about the need for this expansion project.”

In recognition of Olivia and Greg’s commitment to the YWCA Saskatoon Hope Lives Here Campaign, five new family units in the Crisis Shelter & Residence expansion will be named: one for the Yuel Family and four others in honor of the women in their family: Olivia, Sophia, Grace and Kailey.

Olivia and Greg gave significant thought to the naming. “We imagined an everyday scenario at the YWCA: a woman enters a room after getting herself out of a really bad situation,” said Olivia. “The name on the door of her room is a real person, and the woman knows that someone cares about her, is supporting her, and is cheering for her. Now, she is safe. That’s it. One woman at a time. Each woman, with the guts and determination to do the work, gets herself to a better place.”

When the Yuels toured the YWCA, they also learned about the YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre, which offers different programs so people can learn and build employable skills, facilitating a new life through employability and the stability that an education and a job provide.

In recognition of the Yuels’ company, PIC Investment Group, one of the new Employment & Learning Classrooms will be named.

“We are drawn to how the YWCA not only provides a safe place for women to sleep so they feel protected in the moment, but also support for a path to employment through the Employment & Learning Centre; they can see a future where they are in control of their lives,” said Greg.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Olivia, Greg Yuel and family, and to PIC, for their generous support which plays a crucial role in maintaining a thriving sense of hope within the YWCA Saskatoon.

Grandey Family Foundation donates transformational $500,000 to Hope Lives Here campaign

YWCA Saskatoon is extending a heartfelt thank you to Jerry and Tina Grandey and Family for their extremely generous $500,000 gift to our Hope Lives Here campaign.

Motivated by a strong desire to give back to a community that has welcomed and supported them so generously, the Grandey Family saw the desperate need for safe, supportive, empathetic space and refuge for women in need. With their generous gift they hope to contribute to helping abuse victims experience personal growth through reducing trauma stress and assisting with development of life skills and vocational training.

“Providing a welcoming and safe refuge for women and children is a critical need in our community,” say Jerry and Tina Grandey. “Our support will help, but the demand for space means the challenge is never done.”

The Grandey Family’s transformational gift will contribute directly to helping YWCA Saskatoon accomplish our three main campaign priorities of increasing our shelter and transitional housing capacity to 71-beds with 35 new larger units to accommodate women and their children, repairing and renovating critical aspects of our current facilities and expanding and improving our Employment and Learning Centre to continue assisting clients in obtaining sustainable employment.

We are so grateful for their support.

BHP donates transformational $500,000 to Hope Lives Here campaign

BHP believes success is driven by creating lasting mutual benefit through working in partnership with the communities they operate in to achieve long-term social, environmental and economic outcomes. This belief has driven BHP to contribute over $50 million in social community investments since 2015. BHP is honoured to help support YWCA Saskatoon’s critical work through a transformational $500,000 donation to Hope Lives Here.

The YWCA Saskatoon is providing critical work that creates positive and lasting impact for so many in our city,” said Karina Gistelinck, Asset President of BHP Potash. “Access to training and courses opens doors and a new world of opportunity and the YWCA is playing an important role in bringing access to people when it is most needed.”

BHP is committed to building an operational workforce that reflects the communities they are part of through maintaining gender balance and achieving a target of 20% Indigenous representation. YWCA Saskatoon programs, like Women in the Trades, contribute to this commitment and to BHP’s value pillars of fostering thriving communities and a future ready workforce. They also reflect the company’s strategy of delivering long-term value and return through their purpose of bringing people and resources together to build a better world.

BHP has a long-standing relationship with YWCA Saskatoon through employee volunteering and sponsorship of the annual Women of Distinction Awards and is honoured to be part of building a healthier, more secure future for Saskatoon.

MNP Saskatoon’s $100,000 Impact on the Hope Lives Here Campaign

At MNP, the commitment to building a strong community is deeply ingrained in their values. Situated in the heart of Saskatoon, the MNP Saskatoon office is comprised of over 300 partners and team members.

Understanding the heartbreak of turning away those in need due to lack of capacity, the MNP team felt a deep calling to support vulnerable members of their community through the Hope Lives Here campaign.

“We are proud to support this community initiative that provides more than a safe space. The YWCA offers crucial education and training as part of the expansion, which will have a cascade of positive benefits both now and in the future,” shared Byron Mack, Regional Managing Partner.

Their $100,000 donation to the Hope Lives Here Campaign is channeled through their MNP Partner Fund, skillfully administered by the Saskatoon Community Foundation. This fund allows the MNP Saskatoon Partnership group to pool personal dollars in support of impactful projects, enhancing the quality of life for Saskatoon residents and beyond.

All team members are committed to making a meaningful impact, and found resonance with the Hope Lives Here Campaign,

Recently, a group of MNP team members toured the YWCA shelter & residence, gaining profound insights into the campaign and its transformative impact. Inspired by this experience, they organized several fundraisers within their office, and raised an additional $12,870.00. This collective effort brought their total commitment to the campaign to $112, 870.00.

In recognition of MNP’s commitment to the YWCA Saskatoon’s mission, the YWCA Study/Library in the new expansion will be named in honour of MNP. This designation stands as a powerful testament to the positive influence MNP has had on the well-being of women and children in our community.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity and for assisting us in maintaining a vibrant sense of hope here at the YWCA Saskatoon.

Assante Financial Management Ltd. – Spadina Branch Advisors Donate $100,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign

The Assante Financial Management Ltd.  – Spadina Branch Advisors, believe in supporting their community here in Saskatoon.

They know that providing physical safety for women and children fleeing abusive situations is the first step in helping these women rebuild their lives. The safe living spaces and career training at the YWCA Saskatoon can additionally offer these women the full support they need.

The financial advisors of Assante Financial Management Ltd. – Spadina Branch, Cara Martens, Shannon Briske, Byron Briske, Kjell Johnston, and Brad McGinnis, all agreed, “There is no better way to strengthen our community than to support women striving to make a better life for themselves and their children.”  They believe if they can help one woman or one family break the cycle of abuse permanently it will benefit the community for years to come.

In recognition of their commitment to the YWCA Saskatoon mission, the YWCA Saskatoon Reception and Registration Desk will be named in honour of the Spadina branch advisors. This will stand as a testament to the positive influence they’ve had on the well-being of women and children within our community.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity and for assisting us in maintaining a vibrant sense of hope here at the YWCA Saskatoon.

Transforming Lives - Jacqueline and David Conway Donate $100,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign

Jacqueline and David are driven by a shared service-based mindset consistently seeking ways to give back to their community. The desire to make a substantial contribution simmered within them but they were uncertain about how or where to direct it. It was then that they learned of the YWCA Saskatoon Hope Lives Here campaign. They delved into the organization’s mission and realized that this was the opportunity they had been seeking.

Their commitment to supporting charities focused on improving the lives of women and children was unwavering, and the YWCA aligns perfectly with their values. As their city continues to grow, Jacqueline and David recognize the pressing need for resources, amenities and programming for vulnerable populations.

What resonated deeply with Jacqueline and David was the YWCA Saskatoon’s commitment to extended support for women, empowering these women to rebuild their lives after escaping perilous situations.

“We strongly support the YWCA Saskatoon and the long-term support they provide to women leaving harmful environments,” added Jacqueline. “It is truly inspiring to see the YWCA’s focus on providing women with opportunities for education and employment. The YWCA excels in transforming lives, for both women and their children.”

Jacqueline and David believe that the act of giving has a way of returning in miraculous ways. Their lives have continually expanded because of this attitude. They wholeheartedly believe that miracles can happen when organizations unite for a common cause. They are proud to support the vital and meaningful work carried out by the YWCA in their community. Jacqueline and David eagerly anticipate the day when the space will be unveiled – a symbol of hope and renewal for countless women and children – and they look forward to witnessing a new era for the YWCA

In recognition of the Conway’s commitment to the YWCA Saskatoon Hope Lives Here Campaign, and as a tribute, two new units in the Crisis Shelter & Residence expansion will be dedicated to the mothers of Jacqueline and David:

In Honour of Nora Conway                                         In Honour of Anita Romanoff

This will serve as a lasting testament to the positive impact the Conway’s and their mothers have had on the women and children in our community.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Jacqueline and David for their generous support which plays a crucial role in maintaining a thriving sense of hope within the YWCA Saskatoon.

Glenda and Tim Harris Donate $100,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign

Glenda Harris was attracted to the YWCA Hope Lives Here Campaign from the moment she heard testimonials from women who had come to the Crisis Shelter and Residence for help. Learning about the women who stay at the shelter for 30 days or in the transitional long-term housing program, Glenda shared, “These women’s sense of hope and newfound belief in themselves was truly transformational!”

In fact, Glenda was so inspired she decided to serve on the Campaign Cabinet, volunteering to raise funds for the expansion and renovation project.

Glenda and Tim wanted to support the dire need for more space for women and children, right here in Saskatoon. They are donating $100,000 to the Hope Lives Here Campaign and hope to inspire others to give of their time and resources to building a safe and equitable community at the YWCA Saskatoon!

“We believe that the community services provided by the YWCA Saskatoon are invaluable,” added Glenda. “When women and children can build resilience and attain skills and a stable lifestyle, it has a positive, ripple effect on the community for years to come.”

In recognition of their commitment to the YWCA Saskatoon mission, the new Employment and Learning Centre Reception area will be named in recognition of Glenda & Tim Harris. This will serve as a reminder of the positive impact they have made on the lives of the women and children in our community.

Thank you, Glenda and Tim, for your generosity and for helping us ensure that hope continues to thrive here at the YWCA Saskatoon.