I’ve spent my entire adult life as an entrepreneur — building, buying, launching and running businesses across a spectrum of industries. I find it immensely satisfying to meet the ongoing challenges of the marketplace, which is always changing and demanding of creative vision and proactive solutions. Keeping pace with those changes and opportunities is both challenging and exciting — to solve problems that often create new avenues. It’s this excitement and collective drive to make every member of our various teams join me in saying: Who has more fun than us?
But there’s another aspect of entrepreneurship that I love almost as much as the challenges themselves: The opportunity to deploy my companies and their resources to help others, whether that be financial or sweat equity. It’s a privilege and a responsibility but one that I’m sure every entrepreneur would agree is one of the most gratifying aspects of business independence.
The organizations that I have most been drawn to are ones that support the needs of children, even before I became a father myself.
I have been actively involved with the SickKidsFoundation and their annual Car and Boat Rallies, which have raised more than $25 million for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. It is one of the top children’s hospitals in the world that is renowned for its world-class patient care, research, education and advocacy.
Being a father I can’t think of a more important initiative to support as my many friends colleagues who have enthusiastically joined me agree. Through our fund raising efforts we help provide critical resources and support for the hospital’s pediatric cancer initiatives, from research and treatment to practical advancements like chemotherapy backpacks that free young patients from confining hospital stays.
I’ve also been a long time supporter of the Vancouver-based Face the World Foundation, which is dedicated to helping Vancouver’s less fortunate. Through grants, the organization has helped more than 400 organizations worldwide with everything from providing shelter and hot meals to contributing to anti-bullying campaigns and supporting music and sports programs for children in need. They also offer financial support to local non-profit organizations whose services relieve poverty; provide medical, artistic or educational aid for children, assist with shelter, alleviate hunger, or those dealing with physical, mental or substance abuse.
In addition to charitable events and raising money for those in need, I’ve also found ways to use our family of companies to help in other ways. Our 100-acre BG Ocala Ranch in picturesque Ocala, Florida provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty and serenity of nature along with the healing quality of horseback riding on the many trails that wind through the property.
Having spent my early years growing up in northern Ontario Canada’s horse country I’m able to share that experience of nature and the freedom of wide open landscapes with others. Visitors have the unparalleled pleasure of horseback riding across miles of wooded trails that are a world away from city life. Stepping onto the ranch feels like taking a step back in time. BG Ocala Ranch places guests in the midst of nature, where they can settle into ranch life, ride horses, go for a stroll and breathe fresh air.
Sharing this experience is one of my greatest pleasures.