Better Winnipeg: Doctor’s fundraising album supports Habitat for Humanity

WINNIPEG — Tucked upstairs inside Jonathon Wong’s two storey home in Winnipeg, is a recording studio. The converted bedroom is where Keys to Home, a fundraising album in support of Habitat for Humanity came to life.

Wong came up with the idea of making an album after hearing about the work Habitat for Humanity does building homes for working families who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy a house.

In one year Wong’s album and related performances have raised more than $15,000. And it all started with four-and-a-half day stretch of performing and recording 15 classical songs composed by Frederic Chopin.

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“I took a week of vacation off work purely to dedicate it to recording this album,” explains Wong, a palliative care doctor. “I recorded it in early December 2013 and launched the CD March 9th.”

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It was a quick turnaround, but came together in time to support a Habitat house that was being built by the College of Medicine.

“He ultimately wanted somebody to be in safe, affordable housing and to raise money to help and given his profession it was a nice fit,” says Michelle Pereira, Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Philanthropy for Habitat for Humanity Manitoba.

“I was very fortunate to have a safe, loving home and my parents never let me forget that,” says Wong. “Your education starts at home, your value set starts at home and your base for future opportunities starts at home.”

Last December as the keys to the College of Medicine Habitat home were given to the new owners – Wong shared a few words and hug with the family.

“I was holding back tears that day. To see the family get the keys to their new home, not just a house but a home, was a very heartwarming moment for everyone there,” says Wong. “To know that my CD played a small role was great.”

Even though that house is complete, Wong isn’t done with his commitment to support Habitat for Humanity. The fundraising continues thanks in part to Quest Musique, a local music store that has jumped on board by donating a rare, hand-made electric Taylor guitar and a year of free lessons. Every purchase of the Keys to Home CD at their stores enters the buyer for the draw, set for September 2, 2015.

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“The response has been great,” says Scott Campbell from Quest Musique about the CD sales. As for the guitar, he says it feels good to see a special instrument like that being used in a positive way to help others.

“All the finer detailing is special. Everything about this guitar screams souped-up Cadillac.”

The entire initiative has left Habitat for Humanity more than a little impressed.

“To be honest, you don’t have high expectations for the amount of money this type of fundraiser would raise,” says Pereira. “It’s a CD for $10 so you have to sell a lot of them. And he (Wong) did it on his own.”

For Wong, it’s the support of others that has touched his heart.

“I’ve really felt the community support and what Winnipeg has to offer…generous place.”

Find out more about Keys to Home here.

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