Passionate Strides: Hope for Children Foundation board member combines her passion for running and kids into the perfect fundraiser!

As Erin O’Brien was preparing to make her way downtown to participate in her first 5K Charity Challenge at the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon (STWM) with the Hope for Children Foundation (HFC) Team, she was excited and confident about doing well in the race. Months of training and fundraising led up to the event—a 12,000-person walk/run starting at the Toronto Exhibition Centre and finishing at City Hall in support of local charities. Erin did very well in the 5K race, finishing 12th out of approximately 300 runners in her age group, and she was the 3rd highest fundraiser on the HFC Team raising $2,685!

As a member of the HFC Finance Committee and Board of Directors, Erin believes it’s her responsibility to participate in events that help raise awareness and donations for important HFC programs. HFC provides grants to children and youth in CCAS’s care to support scholarships, emergency grants, summer camp for kids, and assist youth transitioning out of care.

This fall marks the fourth year that HFC has entered the STWM Charity Challenge, but this year will be even more exciting.

“We are honoured to have been chosen one of the Featured Charities this year!” says Mary Bowyer, Foundation Executive Director. “We hope that this will increase awareness about the important work that we do and motivate the community to join our Team at STWM.”

Erin says that the Foundation’s good work motivates her to participate as a donor and volunteer. “To know that I am helping children and youth develop a great foundation in life so that they can have a better future inspires me,” she says.

Erin and her family have had a long-standing philanthropic relationship with HFC and CCAS. The O’Brien family has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars towards the Matthew O’Brien Scholarship Fund, in honour of Erin’s late brother, Matthew. Erin’s mother, Mary Catherine, was a CCAS Child Protection Worker for more than a decade before retiring and joining the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee, and Board of Directors. 
Erin’s brother, Michael raised more than $65,000 for the Matthew O’Brien Scholarship fund in a cross-country bike ride. The scholarship fund was matched by the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and became the first-ever full tuition and boarding scholarship available to a CCAS youth in care attending St. Michael’s College.

This year, Erin has doubled her commitment to the 2010 HFC Team by deciding to run the half-marathon (21 kms) and raising $5,000! Her fundraising plan includes an email blast and personal ask to all of her friends, family and colleagues at Cumberland Private Wealth Management, where she works as a Private Wealth Portfolio Manager.

“A lot of my colleagues were very supportive last year and were interested in learning more about the Foundation, so I’m positive that I can count on their support again this year,” she says.

Erin is excited about training for this year’s run and encourages anyone to participate at their own pace and capacity. “You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy the race,” she says. “The group is diverse in age range and capabilities. It’s a thrilling event—a life experience not to be missed!”

Please review event details on this page to find out how you can register for the walk/run!