Mennonite Central Committee Receives $229.6 Million Legacy Gift of Property
ABBOTSFORD, B.C.—Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is honoured to announce a remarkable gift of $229.6 million in property given to MCC British Columbia by an individual donor in support of the organization’s international relief, development and peace work.
Henry Rempel of New Westminster, B.C., who died June 9, 2023, and his wife, Mary Rempel, who predeceased her husband in 2014, wanted to help “the poorest of the poor.” Henry gifted a large portfolio of rental and development properties to MCC for the ongoing support of MCC’s ministry.
The properties are located across British Columbia, held in subsidiary companies owned by MCC B.C., and collectively referred to as HyLand Properties. HyLand is also managing previous gifts of real estate from the Rempels, beginning with their first donation of property in 2012. HyLand’s purpose is to operate the full portfolio of properties on an ongoing basis and to generate annual income for MCC, similar to an endowment.
“We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift,” says Wayne Bremner, executive director of MCC B.C. “We know that, globally, more than 110 million people have been forced to flee their homes. And more than 800 million — one in ten — go to bed on an empty stomach each night. The needs around the world are staggering, and this gift will increase MCC’s capacity to respond.
“We are humbled that Henry and Mary chose to partner with MCC to steward this generous and strategic gift to assist the world’s most vulnerable people,” says Bremner. “The Rempels have truly left a legacy that will be felt for generations to come.”
Henry Rempel and his family were assisted by MCC in the 1920s as they fled the Soviet Union and came to Canada as refugees, settling in Yarrow, B.C. Mary Rempel and her family fled Lithuania during the Second World War, arriving in B.C. in 1948.
Throughout their lives, the Rempels had hearts for those who were suffering. Henry Rempel spent his professional career working in the field of psychology with people living with mental health challenges. Mary was a teacher. Then, at an age when many people would be contemplating retirement, they moved into business, operating and developing rental properties throughout B.C. and Alberta.
“Henry Rempel never forgot the hardships endured by his family, and the assistance MCC provided,” says Bill Battison, Henry Rempel’s long-time friend and representative. “He and his wife wanted to make a significant, lasting impact — to serve those with the greatest needs.
“Henry and Mary Rempel have entrusted MCC to steward this legacy gift with care and integrity, and to ensure the resulting resources are applied to help transform lives around the world — today and long into the future.”
For more than 100 years, MCC has worked to address challenges like hunger and displacement, responding to real and urgent needs around the world, and working for peace and justice. MCC carries out its relief, development and peace efforts with partners in some 45 countries, demonstrating God’s love for all in the name of Christ.
Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.
Laura Kalmar is director of communications and marketing for Mennonite Central Committee Canada
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 60 No. 5