He may not be a household name, but EW Bickle’s legacy looms large in Toronto.

As a successful financial professional in the 1950s, he created a charitable foundation in his own name to help elevate the lives of Torontonians who didn’t share his good fortune. He also helped co-found the United Way and served as Chair of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute where, today, the EW Bickle Centre for Complex Continuing Care treats people of all ages who live with chronic and complex health issues.

“My grandfather was very civic-minded and compassionate. He wanted to help the most vulnerable among us,” said Martha Wilder, President of the Foundation that continues to endow charitable organizations across the city.

In 2020, Martha’s father William Price Wilder passed away and left a generous legacy gift to the foundation. In recognition, it was renamed the Bickle-Wilder Foundation.

In keeping with EW Bickle’s original intention, the Bickle-Wilder Foundation supports all manner of social, health, and community organizations across the city. Eva’s has been a grateful recipient of support from the Bickle-Wilder Foundation since 2010.

She noted that our broad scope of supports, from our emergency shelter to mental health programs to employment and training opportunities, help youth create pathways to independence, which appeals to the foundation’s directors.

“I love the idea that Eva’s has a social enterprise: Eva’s Print Shop. Our hope for the youth who are receiving these services is that they can build the competence they need to move forward and build productive lives,” said Martha.

Eva’s longstanding reputation for transparency in our commitment to reducing youth homelessness is also a factor.

“When selecting organizations to support, we look for consistent and comprehensive delivery of services. We also refer to Charity Intelligence Canada and Eva’s consistently comes up in the top 100 charities, and often the top 10,” said Martha.

She recognizes the important role Eva’s staff play in helping youth find their unique footing in the world and reach their potential to lead fulfilling, healthy lives.

“I was lucky that I grew up as part of a nice family with two parents, but I also had a mentor outside of my family who was a huge influence. These are people who can make a difference in a young person’s life. That’s a role that Eva’s provides and we’re proud to support them as they do that.”

“About 10 years ago, the directors decided to focus on youth at risk, health care, and education. Eva’s is certainly within that area of focus, and we appreciate the comprehensive services that are provided. Our support for Eva’s carries on my grandfather’s legacy in the sense that it’s helping the most vulnerable,” said Martha.

Are you part of a foundation looking to support young people in need? Please contact Rebecca Grace, Foundations and Grants Manager, at [email protected].