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From bodybuilder to child advocate

Alan Quesnel makes $500,000 pledge to help children through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada

By Brianne Binelli | CCFC brand stewardship manager

Alan Quesnel is not your average retiree. The 47-year-old former bodybuilder and business owner has donated much of his life’s resources to The Alan Quesnel Family Foundation to support those in need. The man who’s supported more than 200 families in Haiti, and recently pledged $500,000 to benefit children through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) African countries of operation, has become a full-time philanthropist. He contends: “[If] you give half of your money away a week before you die, what are you forfeiting?”

Busy life, big rewards
Quesnel has been in business since the age of 21, and although he has been involved in various industries — from landscaping to foodservice and real estate — The Athletic Club group of 12 fitness facilities was his lifeblood. In 2014, he sold his company shares to focus on humanitarian efforts.

Called to serve
It’s been nearly 20 years since Quesnel began his journey into philanthropy, with much of his energy focused on assisting communities in Haiti, supporting 200 families and operating two schools educating more than 1,000 children. He’s also an avid supporter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Catholic Church and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex in Ontario, among other charities.

A heart for children
Although Quesnel has sponsored a child with CCFC since 1997, it was a special television commercial appeal to help 712 in need that compelled the philanthropist to reach deep into his wallet once again, pledging to donate $500,000 to help children and their families. “There are a lot of organizations that claim to do good work, and a lot of the money doesn’t end up in the right hands; I know [CCFC does] good work,” he says.