William (Bill) Kitchen and Jean Fraser met while studying Commerce at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College. They graduated in 1949, married in 1950, and in 1951 opened Lansing Building Supply in the north Toronto area known then as the Village of Lansing. Together they used innovation, integrity, respect and hard work to excel in a highly competitive market while raising a family of five and playing an active role in their community. Vacation and leisure time were spent mostly pursuing their love of outdoor activities.
Over 50 years the business grew to nine Lansing Buildall locations and provided a wide variety of full and part time employment opportunities to over 1,000 people across the greater Toronto area. In 1998 Lansing Buildall merged with Vancouver based Revelstoke Home Centres and in 2001 was sold to Montreal based RONA.
The W.C. Kitchen Family Foundation (WCKFF) was established in 1988. It was an opportunity for Bill and Jean to share their good fortune with a wide variety of worthy causes that reflected their family’s values. In 2009 the WCKFF embraced a more targeted approach to philanthropy by focusing granting efforts on two program areas that reflect the family’s values and interests: (1) GTA youth at risk and (2) Ontario and BC conservation.
The grant committees, staffed by family volunteers, look for innovative programs with the greatest potential to maximize impact.