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Former Coquitlam mayor gives $600k to build PoCo home for disabled young adults

Maxine Wilson has turned her attention from politics to philanthropy, making a major donation last month to the Port Coquitlam Community Foundation.
Former Coquitlam mayor and school trustee Maxine Wilson (in front with blue jacket) with members of the Port Coquitlam Community Foundation board (left to right): Carson Hamill, Taura Berg, Darcel Moro (executive director), Linda Kozina, Dawn Becker (board chair), Stuart Ross, John Diack, Karen Grommada and Coun. Glenn Pollock (missing from photo are Mohammed Mecklai and Mahesh Pillay).

A former Coquitlam mayor and school trustee has turned her attention from politics to philanthropy, making a major donation last month to the Port Coquitlam Community Foundation.

Maxine Wilson, who, after several terms on the School District 43 board of education, served as a city councillor from 1998 to 2005 and mayor from 2005 to ’08, gave the foundation $600,000 on behalf of her family to plan and build a home in PoCo for young adults with intellectual disabilities.

Wilson told The Tri-City News today (Wednesday) the money is a result of wrapping up her late husband’s holding company “and from being frugal all these years.” Gordon Wilson, who had a successful marketing business, died in 2017.

Wilson said she and Coun. Glenn Pollock, a foundation board member, will be working together to find a suitable partner to operate the facility and to locate a site in PoCo.

Pollock has already met with New View Society, a PoCo charity that helps people with mental health challenges, and Share Family and Community Services about the plan.

Wilson said she donated the cash to the foundation because “Port Coquitlam council has been extremely supportive with housing,” especially for its vulnerable residents.

“This is something I believe we need to do to become a village again in our community,” she said. “Community integration services need housing… We know from research and projects that, as these people transition out of school, the priority is for them to have suitable housing in the area where they have their contacts.”

A former elementary school teacher, Wilson, 73, said she has also been volunteering her time with school district administrators to look at student development and needs — including at the secondary school level.

She has given more than $100,000 for scholarships, bursaries and other educational programs (last November, Wilson handed over $1,000 to the Gleneagle secondary Me to We club to help the organization build a school in Kenya).

Now, Wilson said she hopes the public will also donate to the Wilson Family Community Fund, through the PoCo Foundation, to help realize her dream of a supportive home.

The foundation's executive director, Darcel Moro, said the $600,000 gift is the largest donation ever to the non-profit, which was founded in 2014 to provide grants and scholarships. “This is a great thing for our foundation as we try to move it to the next level,” she said.

Moro also said the cash comes as the foundation prepares for its next grant intake, with applications from registered charities being accepted from Feb. 1 to March 15. PoCo groups in the fields of arts and culture, sports and recreation, health and wellness, environment, education and social services can apply via

To donate to the Maxine Wilson Family Community Fund, visit or stop by the finance department at Port Coquitlam city hall (2580 Shaughnessy St.).