The Honda Indy Toronto was once again the backdrop for an incredible show of generosity from race fans, the Ontario Honda Dealers Association (OHDA) and the Honda Canada Foundation (HCF). Total donations for Make-A-Wish® Canada were a sizeable $75,000, thanks to a $30,000 contribution by fans matched by the OHDA and HCF, and generous contributions of $5,000 and $10,000 from new partners Tim Hortons Inc. and Johnsonville Sausage.
This was the 30th year of racing on the streets of Toronto and the seventh straight year for Make-A-Wish® fundraising efforts at the Honda Indy Toronto. Over that time, spectators and partners have raised more than $500,000 for Make-A-Wish.
“This is a true reflection of how big people’s hearts are and I know that everyone at Make-A-Wish shares in my excitement and sincere gratitude to Indy fans, the Honda Canada Foundation and Ontario Honda dealers,” said Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, president & CEO, Make-A-Wish Canada. “Programs like this play an instrumental role in our ability to bring strength and happiness to the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.”
Race fans of all ages were once again treated to the speed and spectacle of the race and fun of the surrounding festival on Fan Friday. Instead of admission, attendees were encouraged to make a contribution to Make-A-Wish. Donations were also accepted throughout race weekend for games and activities including face painting, racing simulators and Honda Junior Red Riders off-road riding program. All contributions over the weekend were matched dollar-for-dollar by Honda Canada Foundation, the company’s national charitable arm.
“This is exactly what the Honda Canada Foundation is all about and the common values we share with Canadians,” said Dave Gardner, senior vice president of operations, Honda Canada Inc. “We’re thrilled about what we’ve accomplished together with thousands of Indy fans, our dealers and this year, a host of new Honda Indy Toronto partners including Tim Hortons and Johnsonville.”
New levels of cooperation and seven years of Fan Fridays
Joining Honda during the seventh year of Fan Friday were two new Honda Indy Toronto partners. Tim Hortons Toronto Restaurant Owners committed all proceeds from the on-site sale of coffee and lemonade which totaled $5,000, while Johnsonville Sausage pledged a $10,000 donation.
“We’re thrilled with the support we’ve seen from the fans and partners and hitting this half-million-dollar mark is a huge win for everyone involved in Fan Friday,” said Kevin Pearson, president, Ontario Honda Dealers Association. “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together in support of Make-A-Wish and I know that’s a sentiment shared by Honda dealers across the province.”
Hometown hero and Honda ambassador, James Hinchcliffe, made a special appearance on Fan Friday to meet with a group of Make-A-Wish kids and their families. He took time to sign autographs, pose for photos and receive good luck ‘high-fives’ from smiling children before hitting the Toronto track for the first time since being sidelined for the 2015 season due to a serious, crash-related injury.
The races may be over, but there are always opportunities to donate to Make-A-Wish. To make a $5 donation, text the word ‘DREAM’ to 41010 from any mobile phone. With support from organizations like the Honda Canada Foundation and the OHDA, Make-A-Wish grants 500 wishes a year through eight regional chapters across the country.