A well-known Hamilton-based family is set to make the largest donation to one of the municipality’s biggest and oldest charity organizations.
The Paletta family has earmarked a $50-million commitment to the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF), representing the most sizeable donation ever in its 68-year history.
The money will establish the Pasquale & Anita Paletta Family Fund through a $25-million donation and a $25-million legacy pledge supporting the family’s charitable interests throughout the Hamilton-Burlington area.
Spokesperson Paul Paletta said the spirit behind the contribution comes from his father Pasquale (Pat), who took some “bumps and bruises” in the ’50s to build his first meat packing plant in Hannon, eventually expanding it into the largest private meat packer in Eastern Canada in the ’80s.
“One of the things that was very important to him, that he instilled in his four boys, was making sure that we didn’t lose sight of where he came from and where we came from,” Paletta told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.
“Always do our part to help future generations succeed, and that’s the big part of what this is about.”
Paletta says the family chose the HCF for its “exceptional reputation” in working with the community.
The family has already made three grants with the money to the Halton Healthcare Foundation, Hamilton Health Sciences and Joseph Brant Hospital to reflect gratitude for the care Pat received as he aged, and respect for those dealing with kidney and cardiovascular health.
An earlier half-million-dollar grant to the HCF’s pandemic response brings recent Paletta Family Fund contributions to $1.1 million to date.
HCF president and CEO Terry Cooke said the organization has been “humbled” by the donations and impressed with Paletta’s continued service to the community over decades.
“I was struck by how consistent the values were,” said Cooke.
“The fact that the family and the business had done well here and they hadn’t forgotten where they came from.”
Cooke says a pledge of $25 million will come over a number of years in the form of a donor-advised fund. HCF staff will advise the family on which charitable organizations will receive money.
The HCF was founded in 1954 through a single gift of $200 modestly donated by a widow in North End Hamilton. The agency has now grown to order over a quarter of a million in assets today.
In 2021, the HCF issued 918 grants to 344 charities, totalling $12.5 million, in efforts to address everyday priority issues that affect Hamiltonians.