Renowned philanthropists Larry and Tova Vickar of Winnipeg, Manitoba have established themselves as ANCOP Canada’s leading single donor as they consistently support ANCOP year after year.
Having been taught at an early age that sharing one’s time and resources is the right thing to do, Larry has led a life that has been that of giving and service to people. He and his wife Tova have always been involved in various initiatives, big and small, aimed at helping people in need.
A highly successful businessman in the automotive dealership industry employing over 300 Winnipeggers, Larry is quite a busy person. However, this does not deter him from serving the community. Currently he joins the group at the helm of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, the Jewish National Fund, St. Boniface Foundation, and the Manitoba Hydro Electric board among others. He and Tova have been involved in a water project in Israel. They have also conceived and sustained L’Arche Tova Café a place showcasing the talents of people with disabilities in Transcona, Winnipeg.
Larry and Tova’s involvement with ANCOP started as early as 2006 when they contributed to the building of houses in Sunshine Village in the Philippines. When Larry organized a tour of Israel on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg that same year, a group of Canadian Filipinos joined. While in Israel, they enticed the couple to also visit the Philippines. It was not until 2008 however that this materialized.
In the Philippines, Larry and Tova visited the Sunshine Village. According to Larry, they saw first-hand the jubilation of those residents who had new homes built for them. “We also saw the extreme contrast to the other homes that were nothing more than shelters from the elements, with dirt floors, metal slabs for roofs, no sanitary facilities,” Larry said. “In this crowded condition dwell sometimes a family of six or more, an area smaller than most of our bedrooms.”
What left an imprint to the couple while talking to the residents was that while there was despair on the people’s faces because of their miserable conditions, they remained hopeful. They had complete faith that they, too would have a new home – a decent dwelling to be proud of like that of other ANCOP villagers. This moving experience plus the thankfulness of the family beneficiaries made Larry and Tova feel wanting to do more for these poor people. “Soon we made a pledge to each other that we would do more to partner with ANCOP to perhaps build a village of our own,” Larry shared.
2010 marked the beginning of the partnership between the Vickar couple and ANCOP Winnipeg. Together with Transcona Rotary, Larry and Tova donated $15T for the building of first ever ANCOP Winnipeg village in the Philippines. The village named Vickar Transcona Rotary Portview Village is located in Camiguin an island in Mindanao south of the country.
Two years later in 2012 Larry spearheaded a fundraising event called “ANCOP Vickar Evening in the Philippines” and raised about $50T. The amount was directed towards the construction of Larry Tova Vickar multi-purpose hall and chapel in the Vickar Rotary Portview village. The village consists of 40 houses and is home to around 200 people.
In 2013 ANCOP Winnipeg received from the couple another $25T through the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba during the ANCOP Walk. The fund was channelled to the community development programs of ANCOP. For 2014, Larry and Tova through the Vickar Automotive Group donated $25T to sponsor the education of the children in their village. According to Larry, he and Tova had witnessed during one of their visits a few interviews of prospective scholars. “The hopeful faces of children and their parents moved us to help the children go to school. We recognized that the children’s education would impact them and their parents’ economic and social future,” Larry said.
Recently, Larry had the opportunity to address in two separate occasions the leaders and members of CFC and ANCOP across Canada. During the July 9th ANCOP summit at the North Centennial Centre in Winnipeg, Larry reiterated his commitment to support ANCOP. “Tova and I are ready to be of help to ANCOP in any we can,” Larry said.
Three days later in July 12th the Vickars were guests to the CFC Canada national conference hosted by CFC Winnipeg at the RBC Convention Centre. Larry addressed over 500 delegates and professed his and Tova’s continuing desire to help the poor through ANCOP. “We can do it together – making a difference in so many lives, one life at a time,” he said.
Larry encouraged those present to share more this advocacy with neighbours, co-workers, relatives and others within their sphere of influence. “By expanding your horizon of scope as to potential new sources of financial and moral support, you will find more willing partners to help in your important missions,” he urged the assembly.
Just before he ended his speech, Larry and Tova presented to Eli Minglana of ANCOP Winnipeg a $25T check for ANCOP’s CSP program. Once again the Canadian Jewish friends of ANCOP demonstrated their boundless generosity and passion towards helping the poor and the underprivileged.
By Edna Garrucho, ANCOP Canada