A big boost for Joan’s Place

A $100,000 donation from Barbara Legate, David Wolfe and family will support planned Joan’s Place development for youth, young mothers and mothers-to-be experiencing homelessness

Photo: Barbara Legate

LONDON LAWYER BARBARA Legate and partner Dr. David Wolfe announced a $100,000 donation to Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s Joan’s Place Community Campaign during the Annual Breakfast for YOU, held virtually on Thursday morning.

The money, which will be used to create a Children’s Learning Space at Joan’s Place, is being donated collectively by Legate and Wolfe on behalf of their entire family, including the couple and their adult children, Alex Wolfe, Amy Soares and Annie Legate-Wolfe.

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The gift, says Legate, was inspired by their family’s own good fortune and a desire to help create a welcoming environment for local youth and their families. Specifically, the family wanted to develop a space where moms and babies have the chance to bond, play, learn and develop together, and where they feel safe and supported overall.

“We know safety and security at a young age can contribute greatly to positive futures,” says Legate. “We want to help ensure that more young Londoners can have the opportunity to feel welcome, peaceful, safe and supported so that they can escape the cycle of homelessness and create new futures for themselves and their young families.”

In addition to personal experiences as parents and grandparents, Legate and Wolfe are longtime healthy childhood development and child protection advocates. Legate, a senior trial personal injury and medical negligence lawyer at Legate Injury Lawyers, has worked extensively representing children injured by negligence. Wolfe is the former RBC chair in children’s mental health and psychopathology at the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and has been active in developing and evaluating violence and abuse prevention initiatives for children and youth for the past 40 years.

A big boost for Joan's Place joan's place PhilanthropyAn architectural rendering of the planned Joan’s Place housing development at Richmond and York streets

Steve Cordes, CEO of Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), says the donation is instrumental as the campaign enters its final push to begin construction on the 55,000 square foot building at Richmond and York streets, which will feature 39 affordable housing units and a youth wellness hub, and is expected to serve 200-plus youth daily.

“At YOU, we believe that it takes more than a roof and affordable rent to change a life,” says Cordes. “This generous gift by the Legate-Wolfe family will help bring to life the wraparound support that is at the heart of our Joan’s Place vision ― a safe place where youth and babies feel supported and embraced so they can thrive, in this generation and the next.”

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In November, YOU announced a $1.5 million matching gift fund, from an anonymous donor, which will make every dollar donated become two. The Legate-Wolfe family joins the anonymous donor, along with the Smith Family, who gave $1 million to name the building in honour of their mother, Joan Smith.

According to YOU, more than 25 per cent of London’s unhoused population are youth, and YOU’s new youth shelter, which opened in August 2020 on Clarke Road, is routinely at 100 per cent occupancy. A big boost for Joan's Place joan's place Philanthropy

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