In 1984, Rotarian Vim Kochhar and The Rotary Club of Toronto – Don Valley members were asked to help raise funds for the Cheshire Homes Foundation to help build housing for the deaf-blind. The eventual result was the First Annual Great Valentine Gala which took place in February, 1985 in Toronto and raised $230,000. It was supposed to be a one-time event, but within two years became so successful that a separate charitable organization to stage subsequent events and allocate funds was created. That organization was the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons (CFPDP), set up in 1987 by the The Rotary Club of Toronto – Don Valley with Vim Kochhar as Founding Chair. Its goal was to assist individuals with physical challenges to live fuller lives and raise awareness of their achievements and contributions to society. Since then, CFPDP has initiated dozens of important projects and events, raising over $35 million. Today, the CFPDP continues to initiate projects that help thousands of physically disabled persons across the country. “We need to concentrate on things that really matter like character, compassion and community,” says Kochhar. “Above all, we need to build awareness and keep promoting the message of inclusion.”
Changing The Way Canadians Think about Disability
- To create awareness in the government and the public and business communities of the skills, needs and abilities of persons with disabilities
- To develop awareness events that will raise funds to:
- Develop awareness materials.
- Recognize the achievements of persons with disabilities.
- Maintain these events for continuing recognition.
- Support other organizations seeking to create awareness for persons with disabilities and to provide financial assistance to individuals sharing these objectives.
- Support conferences, seminars or meetings on issues relevant to people with disabilities
- To help raise funds needed to meet these objectives.
The Foundation has initiated a number of successful ventures since its inception, some of which are listed below:
- A Seat At the Table
- The Great Valentine Gala
- Rolling Rampage
- WhyNot Marathon
- Canadian Helen Keller Centre
- The Rotary Cheshire Home
- The Canadian Disability Hall of Fame
- Jeff Adams CN Tower Climb
- WhyNot Magazine – 4x annually
- The Eternal Flame of Hope
- Canadian Helen Keller Award Luncheon
30 Years of CFPDP