By Cathy Hillard

Tony Mauro was just a newborn baby when his father, Frank, started in the home building business in 1964. He grew up learning about the business and understanding the importance of building community along with houses.

As co-president of the Stouffville-based Fairgate Homes, Mr. Mauro remains committed to those values, evident in a recent major donation to Markham Stouffville Hospital. Fairgate Homes came to Stouffville in 1980 and when construction began on the hospital in the mid-1980s, the Mauro family was right there to offer support. Fast forward 30 years and the needs of the community called to the family once again in the form of the capital fundraising campaign for the expansion of MSH.

“It felt like the right time,” Mr. Mauro explains.  “When we started developing in Stouffville, we were told that the hospital would need to expand [to cater for the growing population] and so the seed was planted then. We are part of the community,” he says, “and we realise the importance of having a hospital in the local community. It’s been there for us and we know how important it is. Also, as developers, we recognise that the hospital has to grow with the community.”

Emilio Ronco, Mr. Mauro’s brother-in-law and co-president at Fairgate, says the company values its connection to their community—and this is one way to demonstrate that. “We wanted to give back to the community and show that we are here for the long haul,” he says. “It is special to us so it’s a give-back.”

Both the Mauro and Ronco families live in the area and have been involved at many levels for years—from coaching their children’s sports teams to sponsoring local events like the holiday fireworks and the Strawberry Festival.

“Being in the community so long, we know a lot of people who work in the hospital as well,” Mr. Mauro explains. “It’s nice to walk through the hospital and see someone whose daughter you coached in hockey or who played sports with your child. There is that personal connection.” Mr. Ronco also has a personal connection to the hospital: He recently welcomed a third grandchild into his family, all of whom were born at the hospital. He has nothing but praise for the staff. “Everyone from the front desk to the nursing staff, they have always been great,” he says.

In recognition of the generous donation from Fairgate Homes, one of the operative delivery rooms (where Caesarean sections are performed) in the maternity wing has now been dedicated in the Fairgate family name.

The good experiences Mr. Ronco and his family have had at Markham Stouffville Hospital reflect the passion the MSH team has for its patients, staff, volunteers and community. They also inspired Mr. Ronco to join the MSH Foundation Board to help promote the hospital’s fundraising efforts. He says Fairgate Homes puts personal care and attention into every home they build and that he sees that same commitment to excellence at MSH.

“We are so proud to have what is fast becoming a world-class hospital in the area,” he says, adding he is “in awe” of some of the new ground-breaking technologies and specialized doctors that MSH is now home to.

Sustaining that level of excellence is largely dependent on the generous support of people like Mr. Mauro and Mr. Ronco. And it is support they are happy to give.

“This experience for me has been a positive one,” Mr. Mauro says. “It is a great feeling to help people. My dad has always been a big proponent of looking after those who are less fortunate and so this is an extension of that. If you have been successful and blessed to have some fruits, then you should share them.”

That is a sentiment he will no doubt pass on to his children, who are now grown and poised to enter into the family business.

Fairgate Homes’ strong ties and commitment to the Markham Stouffville community are likely assured for many years to come.

Pictured: Tony Mauro and Emilio Ronco, co-presidents of Fairgate Homes and long-time supporters of Markham Stouffville Hospital

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