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Adam Doering, left, set up a foundation called the Mark Doering Thoughtful Fund, named after his brother, right, who died of brain cancer at the age of 40.Handout

The organizer: Adam Doering

The pitch: Raising $1-million for the Halton Learning Foundation

A few years ago Adam Doering heard a story about a Grade 2 student in the Halton region west of Toronto whose family struggled to afford food, which meant she had to make a single sandwich last all week.

“On Monday she took out her sandwich, took a bite and wrapped it back up. Then on Tuesday she took out the same sandwich, took another bite and wrapped it back up, and so on, through the week,” Mr. Doering recalled from his home in Burlington, Ont., where he works as an investment adviser for CIBC Wood Gundy. “It was heartbreaking and I just felt that’s wrong.”

The story prompted Mr. Doering, 45, to get involved with the Halton Learning Foundation, a Burlington-based charity that funds scholarships and provides emergency funding to help low-income families in the region cover the cost of food, winter clothing, school trips and application fees for university or college. “Poverty isn’t something that’s visible in Burlington, but there are real needs,” he said. “Halton Learning has never turned down a request for help.”

Mr. Doering’s commitment to the foundation grew two years ago after his brother, Mark, died of brain cancer at the age of 40. He set up a fund inside the foundation called the Mark Doering Thoughtful Fund and he’s raised nearly $100,000 so far, which has gone toward the foundation’s emergency services. “It’s been great because that money has already helped 400 kids in my brother’s name,” he said. Contributions to the fund have come from family, friends and work colleagues, and Mr. Doering is hoping to raise $1-million.

“Losing a little brother is devastating, but when his name lives on in such a positive way, it’s almost like a gift he’s left behind by inspiring me to want to do this in his memory,” Mr. Doering said. “There is still so much good that can come out of his life even though he’s not here any more.”

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