The newly-reimagined Ottawa Street YWCA will be named The Putman Family YWCA, thanks to a $1 million donation from Hamilton’s Putman family, known locally as the founders of Ancaster-based Everest Toys.
Bob Putman and his wife Karen launched Everest Toys in 1992, which is now helmed by their son Doug, who has earned the reputation as a music industry “saviour” after acquiring – and turning around – failing Sunrise Records and HMV.
The Putmans approached YWCA Hamilton after reading a newspaper story about the lack of funding to Carole Anne’s Place, an emergency overnight drop-in centre for women who are experiencing homelessness.
“YWCA Hamilton has been at the forefront of addressing the affordable housing crisis in Hamilton,” says Denise Christopherson, CEO YWCA Hamilton. “The Putman family contribution will significantly support YWCA Hamilton’s efforts to eradicate women’s homelessness.”
“We wanted to be part of the solution,” says Doug, who credits his mother Karen with bringing the media story to the attention of the close-knit family. “I obviously have a very strong mother and a very strong sister. I’ve got a very strong wife and I hope I’ve got a very strong daughter as she grows up. I see the impact of a mother on the kids, the family. What better place to support than mothers and families, because you can actually impact that next generation?”
The Putman family, including Bob and Karen, Doug, his wife Kerri Putman and daughter Hadley, as well as Bob and Karen’s daughter Jennifer Putman, her husband Pablo Roque and their daughter Anna Roque will take the stage at the 2020 Women of Distinction Awards, Thursday evening at the Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s, where they will announce their donation and urge the crowd of 1,000 guests to invest in women, girls and families in Hamilton.
“We are so grateful for this family’s investment in women and children in Hamilton,” says Christopherson. “The Putman family legacy will live on in the generations of families whose lives are improved by their generosity.”