Hikers walking through field at base of Ecuadorian mountain during the day

Last November, 115 brave Royal LePagers answered the call to step outside their comfort zones as participants in the ‘Ecuador Challenge for Shelter.’ Each trekker pledged to raise thousands of dollars in support of their local women’s shelter and national domestic violence prevention programs before setting out an epic trekking adventure. Camping in tents for four chilly nights and hiking for five days towards the base of Mt. Cotopaxi – one of the highest active volcanoes in the world – the team of fundraisers collected a staggering $1.7 million for the cause, setting a new record for the most money raised by a single Royal LePage Shelter Foundation event.

“Sharing extreme physical and mental stress has a way of creating life-long friendships,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, and beloved member and veteran of the trekking team. “I watched the bonds grow between complete strangers as they struggled up the steep mountain trails side-by-side, before collapsing, exhausted into crowded tents at night. It is rare in our busy lives that we spend so many days in the wilderness. Unplugged, walking and talking hour after hour, people would bare their souls to each other. To create these unique relationships between colleagues while doing such good work is a huge point of pride for us at Royal LePage.” 

Funds raised were split between each trekker’s local women’s shelter and programs in communities from coast to coast that teach youth how to build healthy relationships and avoid violence in their lives. An additional donation was made to the women’s shelter in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito, as a show of appreciation to the trek’s host country and as a signal of solidarity that women everywhere deserve to be safe in their homes and closest relationships. 

A bi-annual fundraiser, the Ecuador Challenge for Shelter follows in the footsteps of Royal LePage Shelter Foundation treks in the Purcell Mountains (2021), Sahara Desert (2019), Iceland (2017), and Machu Picchu (2015). A total of $4.7 million has been raised via the ‘Challenge for Shelter’ series. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation looks forward to revealing the top secret destination for their 2025 trek in September, 2024.

The Challenge for Shelter is proudly sponsored by TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialists, Sagen, and Just Sell Homes. To learn more about the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation or to make a donation, visit rlp.ca/shelter