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Jonathan Goodman and David Cape (right) pose for a portrait with Claude Pinard and Marie-Helene Laramee of Centraide (Left) and Natou Suissa of the Montreal's Federation Combined Jewish Appeal before a fundraiser garden party in Montreal on Sept. 07.Andrej Ivanov/The Globe and Mail

The organizer: Jonathan Goodman

The pitch: Raising more than $500,000

The causes: Centraide of Greater Montreal and Montreal’s Federation Combined Jewish Appeal

Montreal businessman Jonathan Goodman has spent close to 30 years attending charity events and raising money for various causes. A few weeks ago he decided to do something far more local, and simple.

Mr. Goodman, 56, called up a couple of neighbours on his street in Montreal’s Westmount area – Paul Desmarais III and David Cape – who are also deeply involved in philanthropy. Mr. Desmarais is the immediate past campaign chair of Centraide of Greater Montreal and Mr. Cape is the current campaign chair of Montreal’s Federation Combined Jewish Appeal, a position Mr. Goodman once held.

“I said, you know, this is really cool,” Mr. Goodman recalled about all of them living on the same street. “I think we should celebrate their commitment to making our world a better place. And I said, ‘let’s do a street party.’”

Mr. Desmarais and Mr. Cape quickly agreed. Mr. Goodman called the event “Love Thy Neighbour” and he asked Montreal artist Susan Scott to design an invitation. Then he and his daughter dropped one off at each of the 57 homes in the neighbourhood.

The evening on Sept. 7 included cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Mr. Goodman’s house; dinner at Mr. Desmarais’s and dessert at Mr. Cape’s. A total of 64 people attended and they raised more than $500,000. “We are here because one of the greatest commandments in the Judeo-Christian Bible is to: Love thy neighbour as thyself,” Mr. Goodman told the guests.

Mr. Goodman, who co-hosted the party with his wife Dana Caplan Goodman, said the evening was also meant to draw attention to the city’s less fortunate. “The word neighbour means all people in your extended community, not just the ones on our street,” he said.

He’s hoping that the success of Love Thy Neighbour will encourage other communities to organize similar street parties. “I think it’s important that we have neighbourhoods again and that we know our neighbours. And we try we work together to help each other.”

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