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Gift of Gratitude - Glen and Outi Leis

Update #36

“Take a look at your own life, your own success. Being part of this community – with our parents as fantastic role models - has likely meant more than you realize.”

The Leis Family

For Glen and Outi Leis of Toronto, the decision to support the International Estonian Centre with a leadership gift of $100,000 was based on one simple fact: it was time to give back to a community that has helped their family thrive and succeed.

Their motivation to let others know of their donation is to encourage the community to stand up for the future and do the same. “The community has done a lot for us,” Glen said. “Much of my success can be traced back to the upbringing and experiences I had growing up as a Toronto Estonian.” Glen recounted how being in Scouts helped him to develop leadership skills and that folk dancing and performing in the Estonian theatre groups helped him feel comfortable in front of an audience. All these have proven to be invaluable business skills.

Outi, who is from Finland, said she has always been warmly welcomed in the Estonian community as she took their children to Estonian school and camps.

“We believe in this project, and want to help the community grow and prosper,” she said. “That’s why we are supporting it.”

Outi said their children Juhan, 18; Sanna, 16 and Mats, 12 are very proud of their Finnish and Estonian roots. “We have told them that they are so lucky – and that it is so enriching - to have friends in the communities where your roots lie.” Juhan is studying International Business and Japanese language and has already found that knowing other languages is helping him with his studies.

Glen, a board member, said that the Estonian House is “way past its due date.”

“As an accountant, I understand the numbers. It will go from being an asset to a liability if we don’t do something now. We will squander the legacy that our parents have left us.”

Glen and Outi believe that the international aspect of the new centre will be extremely valuable to help Estonians both at home and abroad. “Estonia has always been a mercantile nation – this goes back centuries, it is part of our culture. International Commerce has been, and will continue to be, critical for our small nation to survive.

Having a Business Accelerator in the new centre is consistent with our history and highly relevant today given the growth Estonia’s technology sector and the importance of the North American market to these businesses.”

It is time for this change.

Glen and Outi want to motivate other donors to step up to support the project.

“Take a look at your own life, your own success. Being part of this community – with our parents as fantastic role models - has likely meant more than you realize.”

“We owe it to them to prepare for the future and for the generations to come.”

Glen and Outi Leis and family


Do you want to pay tribute to your roots? To find out how you can make a lasting difference in shaping the future of the Estonian community in North America, please contact International Estonian Centre Executive Manager Urve Tamberg at

All donors of $10,000 or more will receive recognition on a display at the new International Estonian Centre. Dedication opportunities are available for commitments of $100,000 or more.


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