A special gift announcement made on Wednesday revealed a generous $50,000 gift from London native Jenny Jones, in memory her late sister, Elizabeth Rankin. The room filled with strong emotional recollections of memories from Rankin’s family: her sister and two daughters. On behalf of Jenny Jones, some of her words were shared at the reveal:
“I heard many great things about My Sister’s Place from my own sister, and when she passed away I vowed to honor her memory with a donation in her name: Liz Rankin. She would be happy to know that this gift will bring care and comfort to many women we have never met, but who are all our sisters in spirit.”
“Everything she did was for other people”
Rankin is remembered as a selfless and caring woman who went out of her way to help not only her family but others around her as well. Rankin’s younger daughter, Andrea Vanderweide, tearfully reminisces about her mother and what she loved about her.
“I think it’s great that my mom is going to be remembered. Really. She really liked to help. Everything she did was for other people. She was very unselfish. [I] think for her, somewhere, that she’s probably really happy to know that she’s still helping” … “My mom was the kind of person who after Christmas dinner, she would take what was left to the mission. [That] was my mom, right? [She] was always trying to give. She would be pleased that some of my aunt’s money went to this,” says Vanderweide.
Continued legacy of wanting to help others
Lisa Larson is the eldest daughter of Rankin and shares why her family chose My Sister’s Place as the recipient.
“Through the years, she’s gotten support from places like My Sister’s Place. When she found this place, she definitely made sure that she could help in anyway that she could to volunteer her time, because she knew what it was like to maybe not have everything and need some support along the way,” says Larson.
Funding for Women’s Empowerment Programs
The latest donation will fund annual costs for women’s empowerment programs at MSP, designed to help women build skills, gain confidence and improve their self-esteem. Programs include: self-compassion workshops, Indigenous awareness group, leadership opportunities, speakers’ bureau training, expressions group, and the micro enterprise.
“All those skills go towards a women’s overall stability in her life. So, if she does achieve stable housing, she is able to support herself and look after herself. It’s one thing to have housing, it’s another to keep housing. [A] lot of the pillars that help us to maintain our housing and our quality of life are those skills, that knowledge, that information that a lot of us take for granted, but under a lot of unfortunate circumstances, we can lose,” says Susan Macphail, Director of My Sister’s Place.
“We always want to go beyond just our basic living day-to-day survival”
Currently, the Women’s Empowerment Programs at MSP are unfunded for by the government. Macphail stresses the importance of these programs and the impact they can make. She explains why this donation is a key component.
“We have a basic needs program and that supplies women with their most basic needs, so laundry facilities, day beds, food, and showers, that kind of thing. But above and beyond that, we always want to go beyond just our basic living day-to-day survival. We really want to help women set goals and learn skills that will help them reach towards those goals.”
Macphail says that a lot of the pillars to a good quality of life is knowledge, skill, and information that these programs can provide. She shares her appreciation toward Jenny Jones and the family of Liz Rankin, and for the difference the gift will have on the lives of hundreds of women for years to come.
My Sister’s Place is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that provides support and services for women who suffer from trauma, mental illness, homelessness, addictions and poverty. Their goal is to provide the right supports at the right time and to empower women in realizing their full potential. Services include support for basic and emergency needs, expert counsellors for those facing trauma, and education and skills development programs.