Ron Antalek has been honoured with the Canadian REALTORS Care® Award 2020 Proudly Presented by REALTOR.ca, for his outstanding contributions to his community of Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Ron Antalek is a second-generation REALTOR® with more than 30 years of experience. In 1989, he put his burgeoning career as a schoolteacher on hold to work alongside his father and sister in real estate. At first, Ron intended to return to teaching after a short leave of absence; but he ultimately realized there was no turning back from his exciting new career path. Ron discovered he could parlay his passion for education into guiding families on their real estate journeys while taking advantage of the flexibility of the profession to get involved with charities in his community.
In 2006, Ron made an anonymous personal donation of $1 million to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, in tribute to the local hospital where his mother had worked as a nurse and where he has seen many members of his family benefit from great health care. “The hospital has been there for my family,” shares Ron. “It came from the heart.”
In 2009, staff at the hospital foundation proposed that a portion of Ron’s donation be used to establish a new psychiatric unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital. Ron gave the idea his blessing and was then convinced to go one step further and attach his well-known name to the unit, to help fight the stigma around mental health.
“Mental illness continues to be misunderstood in our society and often does not attract the funding attention of donors,” explains Laura Butler, Executive Director of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation. “Ron is to be commended not only for the size of his donation but also for his willingness to have the funding directed to mental health, an area of great need.”
Ron came to see the value of making his donation public knowledge. “It inspired others to donate and has created a conversation within the community,” he says.
Ron’s transformational gift to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation was instrumental in the creation of the Antalek Family Psychiatry Unit, which serves the mental health needs of adult patients within the hospital walls. Years later, further funds from his donation were used—in conjunction with an effective matching campaign within the community, spearheaded by Ron—to help launch Foundry Ridge Meadows, a youth wellness centre located within the community, which provides young people with access to many health services, including mental health support.
Ron has proudly served on the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation Board of Directors since 2009 and has been its Chair since 2012. As part of this role, he has been deeply involved in the foundation’s strategic planning. “He has helped us move Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation to fund healthcare needs beyond the walls of Ridge Meadows Hospital—creating partnerships with other organizations in the community as we work toward common goals,” says Laura Butler.
The impact of Ron’s leadership and generosity are felt throughout his community. As Vicki Kipps, Executive Director of Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, explains, “Our community—its youth, businesses, non-profits, hospital and so many more—is much stronger due to the deeply engrained and selfless giving he demonstrates on a daily basis.”
Ron hopes that by accepting CREA’s Canadian REALTORS Care® Award 2020 and sharing his story, he might inspire others to give volunteering a try. “What is your passion? What makes you feel warm inside? What can bring a tear to your eye? Pursue that as a volunteer,” he recommends.
In Ron Antalek’s honour, the Canadian Real Estate Association has donated $5,000 to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation.
Our 2020 Nominees
CREA congratulates all of our 2020 nominees, whose names were put forward by friends, fellow REALTORS® and charity representatives for being inspiring examples of REALTORS® giving back:
- Gregg Bamford of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
- Kevin Dol of Courtenay, British Columbia
- Rebecca Pearl Himelfarb of Toronto, Ontario
- Bill Hubbard of Vernon, British Columbia
- Bruce Johnson of Wasaga Beach, Ontario
- Jeff McMaster of Carleton Place, Ontario
- John Patricelli of Burnaby, British Columbia
- Colin Zappia of Ottawa, Ontario
If you know a REALTOR® who is making a difference in their community and deserves recognition on a national level, please watch for the announcement of the nomination period for our 2021 award this September.