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Al and Mary MacPhee recently donated $250,000 to the Bridge Centre for Arts and Technology in Dartmouth, N.S., to help expand its services for at-risk youth.

Scott Munn

The Donors: Al and Mary MacPhee

The Gift: $250,000

The Cause: The Bridge Centre for Arts and Technology in Dartmouth, N.S.

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The Reason: To fund youth-training programs At 71 years old, Al MacPhee has a hard time relating to some of the things that interest young people. But he has a passion for making sure his community in Dartmouth, N.S., has programs that help at-risk youth put their lives back together.

"I was drawn by a need that I see in my neighbourhood," said Mr. MacPhee, a long-time owner of car dealerships in Nova Scotia. "What I hope to do is ensure that fewer youths get off the rails."

A few months ago, Mr. MacPhee got involved with a new program at the Bridge Centre for Arts and Technology. The centre has a history of offering alternative learning programs for teenagers and it planned to expand its services through a $1-million fundraising campaign. Mr. MacPhee and his wife, Mary, contributed $250,000, some of which will go toward helping the centre adopt a successful program started by Bill Strickland, a prominent youth worker based in Pennsylvania.

Mr. MacPhee has been involved with the Bridge Centre for years and he recently attended an event that included some of the students playing rap music. He didn't care much for the music, but that didn't matter.

"I wasn't listening to the music. I was listening to young people being happy and working with each other," he said. "I don't need a sail boat, a yacht or fancy things. I'd rather put my money back into my community."

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