Original Farm House in 1948

The Foundation was started by friends and family of Mrs. Lily Butters in 1976, two years after her retirement from the leadership of the public establishment for mentally retarded children that she started in 1948 in her original farmhouse along Lake Memphremagog in the village of Austin.

By the mid 1970s, the establishment had grown to house 435 disabled clients on a campus that consisted of six buildings over 35 acres of land. By 1972, Mrs. Butters was the largest employer in Brome County.

The institution had recently had its vocation changed by government decree from custodial care to social rehabilitation after it had been taken over by the Government of Quebec in 1972. The Butters family was slowly being marginalized in the reorganization of the newly minted publicly run establishment and it was thought that the best way to maintain family and community interest in the mission of the establishment was to create a Foundation that would support the legacy of Mrs. Lily Butters.

The initial mandate of the Butters Foundation was to support the new mission of the public center and to promote the social integration of intellectually disabled residents through the acquisition of housing in the communities of Brome County and beyond. In this way, the Foundation helped with the first de-institutionalization movement in the Province of Quebec. The Foundation was so successful over the following 15 years that the original institutional complex was closed in 1990.

May83The Foundation’s first capital campaign in 1980 raised enough money to build a workshop for the adult residents of Knowlton who had been de-institutionalized from the Austin institution. The second capital campaign in 1986 netted $775,000 and allowed for the construction of three architecturally barrier-free residences in the communities of Magog, Knowlton and Granby. This project was a first in Quebec and precipitated the closing of the Austin institution by allowing long-time residents that were confined to wheelchairs to find a place to live in the community.

By 1998, the Foundation had launched its third capital campaign, targeting permanent housing for disabled adults whose parents could no longer care for them. This very successful campaign netted 2.6 million dollars and has fostered long-term community integration for many adults through the purchase of residential housing in strategically placed localities in the towns and cities of our territory. These houses have been purchased by Butters Homes, Inc, a property management company created by the Foundation in 1986 to manage properties for intellectually disabled clients registered with the public establishment, now called le CRDITED de la Montérégie-Est.

Since 2000, the foundation has waged one successful campaign from 2006 to 2008 which netted 3.4 million for three separate projects, and another which was launched in 2013 and is ongoing at this point.  For further information on the current campaign, ”From Caring to Curing”, consult the What’s New  page on this website.

Between capital campaigns, the Butters Foundation has maintained contact with its donors and friends by publishing annual solicitation letters that provided news on recent investments made by the Foundation and requests for new monies to pursue specific projects. These letters have been circulating in the community for over twenty years.