Mennonite Central Committee receives $229.6 million gift of property

Henry and Mary Rempel in Vancouver, B.C., in 2010. — HyLand Properties Henry and Mary Rempel in Vancouver, B.C., in 2010. — HyLand Properties

Mennonite Central Committee has received a gift of $229.6 million in property by an individual donor in support of international relief, development and peace work.

Henry Rempel of New Westminster, B.C., who died June 9 at age 97, and his wife, Mary Rempel, who died in 2014, wanted to help “the poorest of the poor.” He gifted a large portfolio of rental and development properties to MCC British Columbia for the ongoing support of MCC’s ministry.

The properties are located across British Columbia, held in subsidiary companies owned by MCC B.C., and collectively referred to as HyLand Properties. HyLand is also managing previous gifts of real estate from the Rempels, beginning with their first donation of property in 2012. HyLand’s purpose is to operate the full portfolio of properties on an ongoing basis to generate annual income for MCC, similar to an endowment.

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift,” said MCC B.C. executive director Wayne Bremner. “We know that, globally, more than 110 million people have been forced to flee their homes. And more than 800 million — one in 10 — go to bed on an empty stomach each night. The needs around the world are staggering, and this gift will increase MCC’s capacity to respond.

“We are humbled that Henry and Mary chose to partner with MCC to steward this generous and strategic gift to assist the world’s most vulnerable people. The Rempels have truly left a legacy that will be felt for generations to come.”

Henry Rempel and his family were assisted by MCC in 1929 as they fled the Soviet Union as refugees, settling in Yarrow, B.C. Mary Rempel and her family fled Lithuania during the Second World War, arriving in B.C. in 1948.

Henry Rempel spent his professional career working in psychology with people living with mental health challenges. Mary was a teacher. At an age when many people would contemplate retirement, they moved into business, operating and developing rental properties throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

“Henry Rempel never forgot the hardships endured by his family, and the assistance MCC provided,” said Bill Battison, Henry Rempel’s friend and representative. “He and his wife wanted to make a significant, lasting impact — to serve those with the greatest needs.

“Henry and Mary Rempel have entrusted MCC to steward this legacy gift with care and integrity, and to ensure the resulting resources are applied to help transform lives around the world — today and long into the future.”

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