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Villa Marconi

5. Brick By Brick



This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections Initiative, Industry Canada.


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Brick by Brick

“About six years ago, Lucio Appolloni called me for a meeting on Preston Street at the rented office,” says Gino Buffone of his start with Villa Marconi. A number of other people were called upon for their services as well, including current president of Villa Marconi, Luigi Mion.

In the first phase of fundraising for Villa Marconi, volunteers such as Buffone went door-to-door to solicit donations from neighbours and “paesans” (countrymen). Eight months later, this simple method had raised $60,000.

Every family offered money to Villa Marconi,” says Buffone. “We received a positive response for the most part.”

In addition to the money being raised through events at the Marconi Centre, the fundraising committee has established a new campaign to help fund the second phase of construction of Villa Marconi.

“We are selling the bricks that are at the entrance of the Marconi Centre. For $1,000 we put people’s names on a brick which will remain there for basically forever,” explains Buffone about the aptly named Brick-by-Brick Campaign.

Villa Marconi president Luigi Mion (flanked by Lucio Appollini on left and Mayor Bob Chiarelli on right) cuts the ribbon to officially open Villa Marconi.

According to Buffone, the most challenging thing about fundraising is to explain to the community that the donations are benefiting the facility, but are also providing a tax write-off for the donor.

“There are three things about donations: one, they help Villa Marconi, two, they get a tax benefit, and three, with the brick-by-brick campaign, their names are immortalized,” says Buffone, who hopes this new idea will stimulate the charity of the community to raise the necessary $2.5 million.

There is some support from corporations, but Buffone believes that only half of the funds raised come from corporate donations, the rest comes from personal donations.

“The Italians have a corporation now run by Italians and managed by Italians that will continue for the future,” says Buffone. “So we should all be proud and come on board and try to help.”

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