In 1963, I emigrated from Germany to Kitchener with only a few dollars in my pocket and a handful of English phrases under my belt. I was keen to start work and I got my start painting residential properties. Not long after, I met a beautiful young lady who had just emigrated from England. I was smitten and asked her to marry me. Penny and I have been happily married ever since, establishing deep roots in this community we all call home.
Years later, in 1978, we established the Cora Group and purchased our first property launching what would eventually become one of Waterloo Region’s largest and most successful developers and managers of commercial real estate, many in Kitchener’s downtown core.
Twenty years later, after a long and successful run, Penny and I decided to sell the majority of our holdings so that we could give back to the community that allowed us to grow and thrive, both as entrepreneurs and as a family.
“We are indebted to the people who live here for providing us the opportunity to make a difference”
In 2009, we established the Manfred & Penny Conrad Family Foundation in order to provide philanthropic support to the community in the areas of health, education and the arts. Most rewarding for us is the fact that our foundation is truly a family affair involving our daughter Sarah and our daughter-in-laws Fiorella and Christine.
Last year, we made an investment of $250,000 in the St. Mary’s Regional Cardiac Care Centre because we knew it would make a difference and save lives. Like the other charities we support, St. Mary’s was grateful for our support but ultimately, it is my family that is thankful. The community supported us all these years and we are indebted to the people who live here for providing us the opportunity to make a difference.
Manfred & Penny Conrad