The donors: Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington
The gift: Creating Jack.org
The reason: To raise awareness about mental health issues among young people
When Eric Windeler and Sandra Hanington's 18-year-old son, Jack, left for Queen's University in the fall of 2010, the family thought everything was fine, until a police officer called. Jack had died by suicide after spending months in a deep depression.
"That led to the worst of all scenarios that a family can go through," Mr. Windeler said from the family's home in Toronto.
The couple began looking into mental health issues and eventually launched Jack.org. The charity develops workshops and presentations on mental health for young people, led by young people. It is aimed at students between the ages of 15 and 24, and so far 71 Jack.org chapters have been started in high schools and universities across Canada. Mr. Windeler has given up his career in the auto sector to work on the charity full-time (Ms. Hanington is the chief executive, or "Master," of the Royal Canadian Mint). They also raise around $1.6-million annually to fund the project.
"We got into this for the most tragic of reasons," Mr. Windeler said. "But there has been a lot of good come out of it."