Ontario's first female Solicitor General, Joan Smith, to be honoured with naming of new centre to support expectant teen moms, young mothers, and babies
LONDON, ON, Oct. 24, 2017 /CNW/ - Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), a 35 year old London-based charity, will be the recipient of an unprecedented $1 million dollar gift by the children of former Ontario Solicitor General, the late Joan Smith, and Ellis Don founder, the late Don Smith, in honour of their mother. Smith, who began her community service with London charities and city council, went on to serve in David Peterson's Liberal government and became the province's first female Solicitor General.
The facility will become a home for youth, expectant teen moms, new mothers and babies who experience or are at risk of homelessness.
The project was an ideal fit to honour their mother's social justice legacy, said daughter, Lynne Cram.
"From an early age, she made a commitment to helping the most vulnerable in this province, in particular women and children. She would be proud to see us support a centre that will carry on her legacy and benefit a new generation of young mothers and babies."
Even after her death in 2016 at the age of 88, Smith continues to be well-known as a tireless advocate for social policy change, including for altering legislation on gay rights and police conduct during her time as Solicitor General in the 1980s.
Throughout extensive accomplishments in public and community service, Smith was a dedicated mother of seven children who have gone on to be business and community leaders across Canada.
YOU Chief Executive Officer, Steve Cordes, said the gift is as significant in meaning as it is in dollar value.
"Joan Smith was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. We cannot think of a more fitting tribute to her legacy or a more inspiring gesture for the youth this facility will serve," said Cordes.
A family with deep roots in London, The Smiths have designed their gift to encourage more leadership and community gifts, structuring it as a matching fund for every dollar raised to the $1 million dollar mark.
SOURCE Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU)
For further information: For more information or to set up interviews, please contact: Lindsay Sage, 519.860.8552, [email protected]