Earlier this week, Fortune magazine editor John Huey wrote a call to action editorial to American businesses and corporations telling them to put their vast resources to good use in this national emergency. On Monday, Toronto based automotive parts magnate Frank Stronach showed how it should be done.
Stronach is the founder and chairman of Magna International Inc. and Magna Entrainment Corporation. Displaced by WW2, Stronach arrived in Canada in his teens with $40 in his pocket. On the eve of his 73 rd birthday, he made a commitment that will eventually cost hundreds of millions of dollars to providing immediate housing to 260 refugees and is scouting the Baton Rouge area for 500 – 1000 acres of land on which to build a community to house thousands more.
Stronach had recently built a horse training and racing complex in Boca Raton, FL complete with over 200 apartments, cafeterias, communications centers and other necessary amenities. He plans to use this facility to provide immediate assistance to hundreds of displaced people.
In the long run he plans to build a community complete with schools, community centers and other pieces of public infrastructure and invites others to join the effort.
“We would like to build a small community where we would try to be sponsors for the next five to seven years,” he said in an interview with the Toronto Star .
“We would hopefully be able to put in an infrastructure whereby you would create a new life for them, a life of hope, spirit, so that they will be self-supporting and not on welfare. That’s the idea.”
Stronach is also the father of Canadian MP Belinda Stronach. Calling on the services of former MP and cabinet minister David Mills, Stronach expects the planned community to be open to about 1000 displaced persons by November 1 st . Thousands more spaces will be made available over time.