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Peter Neufeld, seen here on Oct. 22, 2020, and his family started the Stouffville Igoma Partnership nearly 20 years ago. His daughter, Georgia, has recently become involved in the charity.

Kate Dockeray/The Globe and Mail

The organizer: Peter Neufeld and family

The pitch: Raising $30,000 for the Stouffville Igoma Partnership

When Peter Neufeld’s father headed to Igoma, Tanzania, 15 years ago to help build a medical clinic, he returned home to Stouffville, Ont., committed to doing much more.

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Mr. Neufeld, who was also named Peter, approached Stouffville’s town council about partnering with Igoma as a way of developing more connections and support for the village. The council agreed and helped launch a charity called the Stouffville Igoma Partnership, or SIP.

Since then the charity has expanded the medical clinic’s services, which treat about 600 patients a month, and last year it added an operating theatre. It also funds scholarships for young adults and secondary-school students, and runs a child sponsorship program to help families meet basic needs.

Mr. Neufeld remained actively involved with SIP until his death 11 years ago. His son has taken up the cause as a member of the charity’s board. Igoma “is certainly a special place in my family’s heart,” said Mr. Neufeld, who is vice-president of leadership at Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Every year the charity has to raise around $70,000 to fund its operations and its biggest fundraising event is an annual dinner in the autumn. The dinner can’t take place this year because of the pandemic, so SIP has had to find a new way to attract donations. “This fundraiser is really the key,” Mr. Neufeld said. “About 50 per cent of our funds usually come in at this time.”

The charity is holding an online information night on Nov. 5 with presentations from the organization’s staff, local politicians and people in Igoma. Mr. Neufeld is hoping to raise $30,000 from the event and a subsequent fundraising drive over the next few weeks.

Mr. Neufeld and his family visited Igoma a couple of years ago and his daughter, Georgia, is also involved with SIP. “I know a lot of people thought that it would die and that it wouldn’t last as many years as it has,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing to see it’s still going.”


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