June 07, 2017 | Shelley Boettcher
Mortgaging to fight mortality
Mortgage company helps fight kidney disease with fundraising program
Dave Kelly set out to help his friend raise money for charity in Lethbridge.
But within a few months, his idea – the Kidney Mortgage, a fundraiser for the Kidney Foundation of Canada – had grown bigger than he ever imagined.
"It started off as something small," said Kelly, a mortgage associate with Dominion Lending Centre Mortgage Excellence in Lethbridge. "But the idea has really been taking off."
The idea behind it is simple: get a mortgage through Dominion Lending Centre Mortgage Excellence and the brokerage will make a donation to the Kidney Foundation.
The program, which is offered throughout Western Canada, was officially launched in spring 2016 and is administered out of the Dominion Lending Centre Mortgage Excellence in Lethbridge.
One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease and every two weeks, 224 Canadians are newly diagnosed. Accordingly, each successfully completed mortgage will trigger a donation of $224, with a plan to raise at least one million dollars.
"It was wonderful for us to know that because we went through Dominion Lending Centre Mortgage Excellence to get our mortgage, kidney patients and their families would also benefit," said Alexandra Smith, a kidney patient.
And from Kelly's perspective, too, the Kidney Mortgage program is a win-win for everyone involved.
The Kidney Foundation seemed like a really good fit, and they really understand partnering with companies to raise funds.
"This is a way for people to raise funds for the Kidney Foundation and not have to pay a dime," Kelly explained. "Dominion Lending Centre donates the money, if you get a mortgage with them. Just by signing up, you are donating."
Part of the program involves education, notes Kelly. Someone may be interested in participating, but doesn't currently need to get a mortgage, or renew an existing mortgage. Down the road, however, Kidney Mortgage will be there, should they choose to get involved.
"It's a process, making people aware that the program is out there," he said. "You can educate someone about it today, but they may not need a mortgage for five years."
The idea for the program germinated when Kelly's friend, who works for the Kidney Foundation, asked if he and his coworkers would help fundraise. Kelly immediately agreed to participate.
"People I know have had the disease and have died from the disease," he said. "The Kidney Foundation seemed like a really good fit, and they really understand partnering with companies to raise funds."
Before long, the idea went from being a Lethbridge-only initiative to one that involves Dominion Lending Centre groups across Western Canada, all raising money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
It didn't hurt that legendary hockey commentator Don Cherry was a spokesperson for the Dominion Lending Centres across Canada at the time. And a few years ago, Cherry's son, Tim Cherry, needed a kidney transplant; his sister, Cindy Cherry (Don's daughter) was the donor.
"We can't do something for every charity that asks, but this just made sense," said Kelly.
"Everything fell into place."
People looking to renew or set up a new mortgage can sign up online at www.kidneymortgage.ca or by calling 1-888-594-9473.