Archive for February, 2024

#17 Kevin England – A Life Steered by Passion And Community

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Kevin England, President of the England Group, shares his journey from a dairy farm upbringing to a successful career in real estate and philanthropy on the recent Polestar Podcast by VELA Wealth. Raised with strong family values and a work ethic, Kevin’s early experiences taught him the importance of integrity and community involvement. His transition to the real estate sector led to innovative approaches to property management, emphasizing long-term thinking and transparency. Kevin’s passion for making a difference is evident in his philanthropic endeavors, including organizing car shows to raise funds for cancer research and hospice care, showcasing his commitment to giving back.



Key highlights of this podcast:

  • Childhood Lessons: Discover how Kevin’s upbringing on a dairy farm instilled in him strong values of work ethic and community involvement, shaping his approach to business and life.
  • Career Evolution: Learn about Kevin’s transition from working in construction and the tar sands to a successful career at IBM, where he honed his skills in communication and long-term thinking.
  • Real Estate Innovation: Explore Kevin’s innovative strategies for property management, including his focus on transparency, long-term planning, and adding value to properties through amenities and services.
  • Philanthropic Passion: Hear about Kevin’s deep commitment to philanthropy, from organizing car shows to raise funds for cancer research and hospice care to supporting recovery centers for young men in need.
  • Building Trust: Gain insight into Kevin’s approach to building trust and rapport with clients, emphasizing integrity, transparency, and a long-term perspective in all his dealings.
  • Legacy of Impact: Discover how Kevin’s dedication to giving back has created a lasting legacy, inspiring others to follow their passions and make a difference in their communities.


About the Guest – Kevin England

Kevin England: A conservative, innovative, and bold entrepreneur with over 30 years of success. From his roots on a Pembroke farm, he embodies hard work and determination. After graduating from Carleton University, he honed his skills at IBM Canada Ltd. and Qualico Developments before founding the England Group in 1986. Based in Vancouver, Kevin England leads with integrity, ensuring everyone wins in the deal. To learn more, please visit the England Group website.



About the Host – Jason Boudreau

Jason has built VELA Wealth into an established life and estate planning firm, guiding families as they make meaningful choices at the intersection of life and wealth. Jason’s areas of expertise include intergenerational wealth transfer and estate planning with a focus on advanced insurance-based solutions that incorporate philanthropy and legacy planning. Leveraging these specialties, Jason brings a fresh perspective and outside-the-box thinking to the strategic planning process. To read more, please visit the VELA team page.


The episode is also available on:






The Podcast Transcript:


Jason Boudreau:

Welcome, everybody to the Polestar Podcast by VELA Wealth. Today we have the pleasure of having Kevin England. Kevin is the President of the England Group, the company focuses on a diverse portfolio of real estate assets and has been around for many years. Welcome, Kevin. Thank you so much for being here today.


Kevin England:

Hey, Jason.


Jason Boudreau:

Great to have you here and looking forward to the conversation.

I know you have lots of neat things on the go today with exciting projects you’re involved with and your non-profits and your passion around that. I’ll lead into that a little bit later in the conversation. What I’m hoping we could do today is start way back as far back as you can remember. I want to hear about the journey of Kevin England and how you got to where you are today if that works for you.


Kevin England:

Sure, Jason. Let’s do it.

Well, I was the fifth child of 10 and I was raised on a dairy farm just outside Pembroke, ON. In the early years, everyone had a job, everyone pitched in. So you learned work ethic and family values very early on. My grandparents were farmers as well. Interestingly enough, my grandfather and his brother, my uncle, had bought a steam engine in 1922, and we’ll be talking later about my passion for vintage cars… so they bought a massive 22-horsepower Sawyer-Massey steam engine machine and they went around to the various farms to help them do the threshing.

As a child, I remember that it was a big part of our family culture – my grandfather was doing that. As I said I had nine brothers and sisters. I was boy number 5 and then there were two sisters, a boy who took over the farm, my brother, and then two younger sisters. What’s a bit unique was being raised on a farm in Renfrew County, I went to a one-room schoolhouse. So, I had grade one all the way to grade eight in one room. We just had a school reunion for one of the teachers who taught there. She had 35 kids in this class at one time and she was 18 years old. She was a very capable person. Having had many siblings, I had brothers and sisters all across the classroom, so it was a unique way to start. We would walk to school in the farming community and then eventually by grade eight, we started to be bused to the larger schools. But that was the beginning of how we were getting educated.

When you grow up on a farm you learn a lot of things. You witness a lot of things – my dad and my mom were very involved in the community, very involved in the church, and very involved in helping neighbors. I got to see my dad do many things for neighbors that he would not want anyone to know about, he wanted to keep it private. We knew all our neighbors, their parents, and the grand their kids, so you grew up with a strong sense of self-identity in that community. Of course, they did not realize it at the time.

I was fortunate enough to hang out with a group of guys who went on to university. So, I took a gap year and went to Europe, which at that time was a big deal. I went to Europe for six months with a buddy and came back and decided to not just do a trade, but then I would go to university. I went to Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

I was fortunate to get hired by IBM on a career day at the university. It wasn’t my intent. I had just decided to have this interview for the experience, and they decided that I was probably a good rainmaker. They decided to hire me and that kind of surprised me as well because I was just enjoying the interview. I remember it was the third day of interviewing and I was the very last interview. And I said to the interviewer “Let’s go get you a coffee.” So, I took him to the university coffee shop. My friends were there, they saw me there with the interviewer from IBM, who was the Senior Manager, and they knew I had the job. They said you had him laughing and eating out of your hand and they said, “Who takes the interviewer to the coffee shop to do the interview?” So, that was very fortunate for me. They sent us to Toronto for training and that is where a lot of my business success came from learning communication skills, the approach to thinking long-term, and thinking bigger.


Jason Boudreau:

How old were you when you started at IBM?


Kevin England:

I was 25 when I started at IBM. At that time, I had already started the business on the side. I have worked in construction. I remember in my high school days I had hitchhiked out to Fort McMurray and got a job in the tar sands. I was making like two and three times more money than you could make in my hometown. The next year there were 17 of us. So, I was alone there for the first year and then I told all my friends from high school. The next year there were seventeen of us in Fort McMurray. That was pretty cool, we kind of owned that town, and it was a pretty special and spectacular time. So that’s how I got my university money. I was there for two summers and got my university money. Also, I got experience driving a gravel truck, and I had farm experience already, right? So, I got the job.

While I was in university, I got a loan from two of my brothers and bought a diesel gravel truck which I was operating in the summer. I hired a family man to drive it while I was back at university finishing my credits. So, when I went into the IBM interview, what made me different was that I already had an operating business. So, that made me kind of unique, because they interviewed hundreds of young people at the time who, I thought, had much better degrees. And of course, I ended up with the job because of my personal and practical experience. That probably changed the course of my life.

I won the Gold Pen for the Top Sales Award at the end of the six-week training in Toronto. All the students were competing for the top sales award. I won what’s called the Gold Pen – an award that recognizes building relationships, rapport, trust, and connection with someone in just five minutes. Turns out I had a natural aptitude for that.

So, then I had friends leaving IBM and going into the real estate sector and making a lot more money with a lot more upside there in their future. Those were the guys I worked with every day. And I thought “They’re doing it, I can do it.” So, I went into the real estate field, first with a company called Imperial Group as a Branch Manager and then they transferred me from Vancouver to Edmonton. After  I came back to Vancouver and worked with a company called Qualcomm for two years. There I learned a lot. I try to always make a lot of extra contributions to the company that weren’t in my job description, but where I could learn as much as possible from the other divisions and the other people. That paid off when I decided to start my own real estate syndication investment company. That paid off in spades.

At that time the opportunity was to buy real estate in Texas, US. You can’t be an expert in every market, so I decided that Texas would be a market I would get to know inside out.


Jason Boudreau:

Anywhere in particular in Texas?


Kevin England:

In the North and the Northwest, in Plano.  I decided to go into a more expensive white-collar area because I felt it would be safer. If something did go wrong, you had an asset and you could get out and break even, right? It was in the early 90s when those markets went through a huge crash, a huge recession, and a huge overbuilt situation. We’re buying properties that were eight, ten, or twelve years old for half price. Of course, going in the North and the Northwest of both Dallas and Houston – those areas came back first. That’s where all housing prices came back.

I preferred to buy conservatively. So, I prefer not to build but to buy existing ones, so, we could know what our mortgage was going to be in advance of buying it. We had a good idea of the rent and we knew that we could make improvements and make a big visual impact. We’re buying the nicer properties that were gated communities and had tennis courts and if they didn’t have a gym, we would add a gym. We would add lots of amenities because I know people will pay for quality and they will pay for

the extra bells and whistles. We would buy a property only 85-90% occupied and we would increase the service. The rent would be more than our neighbors but we would be full. We added simple things such as having a young family of police officers move in for half-price rent, just so people would feel that it was a safe and secure community and all those little.

I remember we had a property of 502 units on the waterfront in Toronto. We were in a situation where there was a vacancy problem, and we were always at 10% vacant. As we would fill them up, we would end up with another 50 notices, so we would always be behind the game. So, I came up with the idea that we would give away a car. We figured out that the rent for a one-bedroom for a year was going to bring in about $17,000 or $18,000, and while I was having coffee in Toronto, there’s a brand new 4-door Saturn for sale, for $17,000. So, I reckon that if we took the revenue from a one-bedroom unit, we could have a contest. So, we said that for the next 50 one-year leases, one person will win a car. It created so much excitement among our onsite staff and amongst the public that we got 50 leases almost in the first weekend because we’re doing something entirely different.

We got a local politician to come and do the draw. That got us ahead of that cycle where we’re always chasing the vacancy. We always tried to be creative and bring more services. Always add full gyms, tennis courts, volleyball courts, adding padding greens. So, we were making ourselves nicer as opposed to trying to cut costs. Right. We were bringing more value and making ourselves unique. We had signature services: people could drop their dry cleaning off at our front leasing office and pick it up the next day. We just make life easy for our tenants and all those things paid off.

The other thing, I said to my investors, “I manage your properties as if you were family. So, instead of paying you out dividends to make myself look good, we spend more money on those properties to make sure there’s no deferred maintenance to keep them in pristine condition.” That paid off when we went and sold the portfolio because we had no deferred maintenance. You run a property and you can get more cash out but then eventually you have to pay the piper, right? You’ll have deferred maintenance and that can sneak up on you and be a big problem.

That was part of the philosophy, the conservative approach. There were some years when the properties were going into a recession, especially in 2008. So, I would defer my management fees and no one else was doing that in the industry, but I would just not take management fees so that the properties would have more cash flow. Then I could be paid back in the future when the property is sold.

Another thing I did that was kind of unique is I had what was called a cash flow loan. We set money aside when we did each deal and we mastered about $1,000,000. We kept an account at the Royal Bank. So anytime a property needed improvements, it could be borrowed interest-free from that pool, so I didn’t have to go and do any cash calls to my clients. And then when the property would be refinanced, that money could be paid back.  Even through tough times and some of the properties being in trouble, we’re able to get ourselves out of trouble and turn it all around and eventually sell the portfolio and make my clients a lot of money. When they went in, they were leveraged into loans at the bank but the tax write-off and the cash flow would cover their interest payments for their loan at the bank. Of course, the ultimate security was an asset that looked good and in a good location. So, always keep the risk to the minimum, and at the same time, we ended up with a tremendous upside.

I had a formula that if the clients had to get all their money back at a 10% return, then as a general partner I could start to share in the profits. So, we are all in the same boat. I have just as much focus and attention on my first properties as on my last properties because I’m in all of them, whereas I had seen other syndicators – they would just keep moving on to the next property. They don’t care about the original ones, because they’ve already gotten their profit out and moved on. This was a much better formula that became a win-win for everyone. So, we ended up with something like a cash-on-cash return of just over 19% annually over the 25 years. It was very gratifying for me to be in a room with several 1,000 investors who are older than myself, but who were telling me that that was probably the best investment experience of their life. Because when things were tough, I would tell them that things were tough and that we would work to solve the problem right and turn it around.


Jason Boudreau:

Just being transparent about it.


Kevin England:

Yes. Another thing we did differently was that we audited financial statements every year and the audits were in our books and on site. So, always the transparency the keep everybody real and honest in the deal. It ended up being very gratifying for me.

One of the best ideas I ever had was when we were selling the portfolio. I got involved in a recovery center that helps young men who find themselves on the streets and find themselves with an alcohol or drug problem. I wanted to raise money for that so we could do more good, especially in the province of British Columbia. I came up with the idea that we would ask the investors that 1% of the gross of the deal could go into a foundation that would help these young men who wanted to turn their lives around. We made a benchmark that we would get $20 million more than the last appraisal for the properties before the 1% would kick in. Well, in the end, we ended up getting $68 million more than the last appraisal. So, in the end, we raised $4 million with this 1% formula.

We’ve gone to this recovery farm that has had 1300 young men go through it. It is non-profit. We work with government agencies, we have private donations, and it is free and holistic. There are farm animals and people can stay there for a year. We helped these young men who have gone to many other treatment centers that didn’t work, but because of our formula, it worked for them. Now they’re out, having regained their lives and being productive citizens personally as well as helping other young men who struggle with the same kind of demons.

That’s been very gratifying and that’s where I got the bug that it’s fun to do properties to make money, but it’s a lot more fun to go out and bring people together and do good in the community. That has become my passion. I get a bigger charge out of that.

That led me to my work with Canuck Place. As I mentioned earlier, my grandfathers and their steam engines sparked my interest. Well, I got the bug to start collecting vintage cars.


Jason Boudreau:

When did that start for you?


Kevin England:

Well, that was about 12 years ago. The first car was a 1931 Model A. I’m buying these cars that are primarily Fords and Lincolns, that are called bread and butter cars. Nothing too fancy, but those are the cars that can be mechanically restored. The second car I bought was called the Sears Horseless Carriage one of the original cars that were essentially horse buggies with a motor under the seat. This car has an air-cooled 12-horsepower motor which I rebuilt, with wooden buggy wheels. It’s a buggy, but in the early 1900s, almost every car on the road looked like a horse buggy with a motor. That was how the car industry started. And then, of course, Henry Ford came along and started to make cars. He went into mass production with his Model T in 1908. So, I have 3 Model T’s and I like the older cars. I have a 1908 Model S. That’s given me great pleasure and along the way, I got invited to go out to Canuck Place to take a young family for a ride in my Model T. My 4-seater convertible Model T, it’s 1911, bright red. It was a profound experience for me because this young family has three boys and the youngest boy was a patient at Canuck Place. I took the dad and the older two boys, 8 and 10 years old, for a ride in the Model T.  They got a break from the stress and burden this family was going through. They got to go into this other space including the dad. When we came back the boys were climbing underneath the car looking at the drivetrain and involved in it. It was amazing.  I have a conversation with the dad as father to father. My youngest grandchild, Leo, was the same as the young 3-year-old Sawyer at that time. The young Sawyer was a patient and had a very rare form of cancer and basically, there was not a lot that could be done for him. So, he was having his last weeks at Canuck Place. The dad was telling me the boys keep asking why this happening and what is going on. And while talking with him I realized the huge support that Canuck Place brings to these families that have a child that’s struggling with cancer. Canuck Place not only helps that child, but they help the whole family because it’s life-changing for the siblings to go through this.

I was driving away from having had this amazing experience as I got invited into the family journey thinking “Thank God, there’s Canuck Place to be here for families that have this challenge in their in their lives.”

That inspired me. I saw the pleasure that this car brought to this family and decided that we should do a car show. My good friend Luigi worked with Canuck Place at the time. He had invited me out and he was encouraging me to do it. I said “Ok. I know other people with vintage cars. Let’s do a car show and put them to work to help children, and raise money for Cancer Research, raise money for the Hospice.” So, that was the idea and we put together the first car show in five weeks.


Jason Boudreau:

Great. When was the first show?


Kevin England:

It was in September 2021. We were just coming out of COVID. We were one of the very first events. We had a full crowd on a Saturday afternoon in Ambleside Park, North Vancouver, and we were unique, no one was doing this kind of car show. We were under the tent with the red carpet. It was an invitation-only event, and we people would not have to pay an entry fee or purchase food, as it was donated. There was no silent nor live auction. It was all done on the basis: come in, see the cars, hear the story about the good work Canuck Place is doing, and then we just asked you to pledge towards the cause. Our goal was to raise $100,000 and we raised $600,000.

Since then we’ve done two more car shows and now we do them every June on the Saturday before Father’s Day. This year, it will be Saturday, June 15th. So, the second year we raised $900,000, and last year we raised $900,000.

What’s notable is we give away a Cup. We have a People’s Choice where people who go to the car show decide which card is the most impressive car for them and they get to vote and put their vote in a ballot.  The car will be chosen by the most votes and it will win the Cup and the Cup will be on display at Canuck Place for the year.

What’s interesting here is that young Sawyer passed away the morning of the first car show. That was uncanny. We did not have a name for the Cup that we giving away and I got the idea to name it after Sawyer. So now we have the Sawyer Cup. In essence, this young boy inspired this car show that we can do every year now and hopefully, we can make it better each year. I’m in close touch with the family. They spoke at the last two car shows they attended and it’s been huge for them and their healing journey that their son was able to bring something really, really positive.


Jason Boudreau:

…and create a legacy in his name.


Kevin England:

…and create a legacy at his early age and you know. I said to them “he’s almost the same age as my youngest grandchild, so I could relate and put myself in that position. What would I do? Where would I turn if my family was in that same situation, right?”

This car show is quite a fun event. I went to my friend, Dave Lede, who also has a passion for vintage cars, and asked him if he would put a car in. So, he said, “Why wouldn’t I Co-Chair? ”. He is one of my best friends and we get to do something and work together and bring a lot of good. So, it is about having real meaning – it creates meaning in our lives, children’s, and families’ lives. It does a lot of good. We also have a lot of fun because of our passion for these cars.

We’re working on having Jay Leno. He’s a car guy and my goal is at some time have him attend and give the Sawyer Cup to the winning car. So, that’s where we are at.


Jason Boudreau:

Thank you, Kevin. Thanks for sharing that story and such a neat journey. Early on conversation, you mentioned when you worked for IBM you learned about building trust and rapport. Can you share a little bit about that? What are all those attributes and how do you deliver on that?


Kevin England:

Well, building credibility and trust with people it’s something that was ingrained in my childhood because I was raised in a small farming community and you were as good as your work. Your reputation was everything. So, no one had to teach it to me. I didn’t even know I had it.  I would always bring that to the table. I remember being with the purchasing agent at UBC and having a frank conversation with him, and he said “You are different. Your whole approach is different.” We became quite good friends and he had a very important role there, but I brought that to the table – “I’m not here to make a sale. I’m here to create a relationship. And if making the sale isn’t right for you, then we’re not going to do it.” With my clients, I would say “We’ll just buy one unit.” They would get excited and want to buy two, but I would say “Just buy one now, there’ll be more properties.”

It is a long-term relationship and if you think long-term you’ll never go wrong. Never worry about the financial reward or the financial payback. If you do a good job and you bring your integrity to it, and quite frankly, if you’re having fun doing that, everything else will happen organically. It will happen automatically and that is the story of my life, I guess.


Jason Boudreau:

I was going to say that earlier, Kevin. While I was listening to your story especially about how you built the portfolio and even the little things such as deferred maintenance and advising clients that this is the best way for it to go. It sounds like you’re playing the long game and clearly, that’s paid off.


Kevin England:

Absolutely. Especially with the real estate. When we brought the investors in, the idea was that we would flip the properties in five years and make some money, right? We realized we could refinance, improve the properties, improve the cash flow, increase the mortgage, give back money to our investors tax-free, and think long-term as opposed to making a profit and paying taxes on it.

Pretty much all these properties when we sold them, the client had received all of their money back, got it, and we hadn’t figured any taxes per se, right? And, of course, when you hold real estate long-term and you keep it well maintained, you’re going to do quite well financially. Also, of course, we were doing U.S. dollar play. We got lucky along the way when we sold the portfolio, oil was $104.00 per barrel. I was telling people we were the prettiest girl at the dent. So, it became a bidding warrant, which is what you always want. Then we went and locked the deal down with an $8 million deposit. And three weeks later, oil started dropping $10 a barrel. It wasn’t long before it was down to $47 a barrel, but we had a committed deal with a very strong purchaser. As Canadians, we’re getting U.S. dollars. The Canadian dollar got weaker, but we were paid U.S. dollars. So, my clients made another 20% return on their investment. Besides that, they were part of this legacy of raising $4 million for a recovery firm. We are going to expand our efforts globally, not limited to just one recovery firm, but also to engage in various other initiatives to assist our governments in addressing the homelessness and addiction problem.


Jason Boudreau:

Got it.


Kevin England:

So that’s it’s something everyone involved should be proud of because we get to take a good situation and make it even better.


Jason Boudreau:

Thank you for sharing, Kevin. Just to close our conversation today, if you were speaking to the younger generation and maybe it’s your kids or your grandkids or just people you meet, specifically around philanthropy, and obviously, this is something that’s been woven into your DNA for many years about the sense of community and giving. What sort of advice or words of wisdom would you give people today who are maybe building towards something in the future and may want to get back but don’t know how or where to start? What would you share with them about that consideration?


Kevin England:

Go with your passion. Pick something that you’re passionate about, that moves you and you will be able to galvanize others to come together with you to make a difference. If you go with your passion, it will manifest and all will come around.


Jason Boudreau:

Love it. Well, thanks again, Kevin. I appreciate your time today. It was great to connect and hopefully, we can do this again someday.


Kevin England:

Thank you for the opportunity, Jason.


A Candid Conversation with Kevin England

Monday, February 5th, 2024

The interview is hosted by Jason Boudreau and published in Iconic Concierge, Winter 2023/2024


Kevin England

The England Group |Director and Founder of New Hope Recovery Foundation |Chair of BC New Hope Recovery Society |Co-Chair of Classic & Contemporary Car Invitational


Greetings and welcome to the winter edition of Creating Impact! I’d like to start by wishing you a joyous New Year filled with warmth, health, and happiness for you and your loved ones throughout 2024.

Recently, I had the fortunate opportunity to meeting Kevin England, President of the England Group, through a mutual connection. Throughout our interactions, I was met with enthusiasm for life and a passion for vintage cars, right down to the intricate art of cranking and firing up one of his proudest assets – the Ford Model T. As I delved into Kevin’s life, his passion for community and family became more and more evident, offering insights into his remarkable journey and the values that define him.

Kevin’s narrative begins in the rural heartlands of Pembroke, Ontario, where he was born as the fifth of ten children on a bustling dairy farm. This early environment was more than just a place of residence; it was a crucible where the values of hard work and family solidarity were deeply ingrained. Kevin fondly recalls the influence of his grandparents, particularly a 1922 steam engine owned by them, which not only symbolized their hard work but also ignited Kevin’s lifelong fascination with machinery.

Kevin’s educational journey was as unique as his upbringing. He attended a one-room schoolhouse, a setting that not only provided academic learning but also reinforced his understanding of community and collective identity. This early exposure to diverse age groups and the need for cooperation undoubtedly laid the groundwork for his later success in team environments and business collaborations.

After completing high school, Kevin embarked on a gap year adventure in Europe. This experience broadened his horizons, instilling in him a sense of independence and a global perspective.

His journey into the professional world began with humble experiences that forged his character. Hitchhiking to Fort McMurray, Alberta, seeking better job opportunities, Kevin engaged in various roles, from construction to driving gravel trucks. Amidst these experiences, a serendipitous interview with IBM altered the course of his life.

At 25, Kevin embarked on his career with IBM, where he not only honed technical skills but also developed crucial interpersonal talents, fostering relationships that would later shape his trajectory. Kevin’s time at IBM was marked by a thirst for knowledge and an unrelenting work ethic, immersing himself in diverse projects, learning the intricacies of technology and business dynamics.

Kevin’s journey into the realm of real estate began as a branch manager with Imperial Group. His career trajectory took an intriguing turn when a transfer whisked him away from Vancouver to Edmonton. Upon returning to Vancouver, he delved into a two-year stint with Qualico, immersing himself in many roles that extended beyond his job description. This approach, characterized by an insatiable appetite for learning from diverse company divisions and individuals, laid the groundwork for his eventual foray into establishing his own real estate syndication investment company, The England Group.

The decision to venture into this new territory proved to be a turning point of immense significance. Recognizing the potential in the real estate landscape, particularly in Texas, Kevin embarked on a path to familiarize himself extensively with this market.

His strategic approach during the early ’90s, a period marred by market crashes and overbuilding, was unconventional yet astute. “We focused on purchasing existing properties in those areas, preferably gated communities,” Kevin elaborates. “Our emphasis wasn’t on building; it was on enhancing what was already there.”

Understanding the intrinsic value of amenities and quality living, Kevin’s team didn’t just invest in properties but in experiences. “We enhanced these properties with amenities like tennis courts, gyms, and more,” Kevin says, “as opposed to trying to cut costs, we were actually bringing more value.”

Through treating investors’ properties like family assets, he ensured no deferred maintenance, even deferring his management fees during economic downturns. His innovative financial tactics, like the cash pool loan, and fortified properties, resulted in an impressive 19% annual cash-on-cash return over 25 years. His emphasis on transparency, evident through audited financial statements, built trust and led investors to claim it was one of their best investment experiences ever.

Kevin’s approach wasn’t just about profits; it crafted a legacy of success and satisfaction for all involved. In 2014, he proposed that if the final sale of the portfolio exceeded $20 million above the appraised value, investors would donate 1% of the proceeds to the B.C. New Hope Recovery Foundation. This foundation’s initial focus was to support Baldy Hughes, a therapeutic addiction treatment community and farm, in Prince George, B.C. The portfolio value surged to an astounding US$288 million (initially appraised at US$220 million), and with an additional CA$52 million sale of a property in Toronto, a CA$4 million donation was made to enhance support and addiction services.

Kevin shared, “helping young men who struggle with demons has been very gratifying and that’s where I realized that it’s fun to do properties to make money, but it’s a lot more fun to go out and bring people together and do good in the community. That has become my passion.”

In recognition of his unwavering commitment to community service, Kevin received a Medal of Good Citizenship from the Premier of British Columbia on September 14, 2016. This prestigious award stands as a testament to his dedication and outstanding contributions to the well-being of society.

Today, Kevin remains focused and committed to supporting young men and women who are battling addiction, sharing, “my most important and impactful work is still ahead, where I am a strong advocate for individuals in need of a solution for their disease of alcoholism and addiction, in the province of British Columbia and across Canada”.

A deep-rooted passion for vintage cars, stemming from his childhood memories of his grandparents’ steam engine, has evolved into a significant aspect of Kevin’s life. His vintage car collection is not just a personal love; it serves as a conduit for his charitable work, most notably through hosting car shows after a moving experience at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice.

His convertible Model T ride for a family staying at the hospice, led to the idea of organizing a car show to raise money to support Canuck Place and cancer research. Kevin was beaming when he shared about his passion for this event, “Helping others enhances my personal life so much because I have been blessed with so much. When I see these other people struggling and I get to help them, that re-grounds me, resets me, and that’s a blessing.”

Since its inception three years ago, the Classic & Contemporary Car Invitational has been able to raise over $2.5 million, with the next one upcoming on June 15th, 2024, taking place the day before Father’s Day.

Speaking with Kevin about the car show being centred around Father’s Day, led to me then learn about his role as a family man being central to his identity. He speaks of his children and grandchildren with immense pride and joy, cherishing the moments spent with them, especially through sharing his love for vintage cars at the car shows, or by taking rides together around the city. For Kevin, these moments are not just familial bonding but opportunities to instill in the younger generation the values of hard work, passion, and the joy of giving back.

Kevin’s zest for life extends beyond his professional and philanthropic interests. He is an avid kite surfer and enjoys electric foiling, activities that reflect his love for adventure and the outdoors. These hobbies, while providing personal satisfaction, also offer him a sense of balance and rejuvenation, essential in sustaining his high-energy lifestyle. Travel forms another crucial element of Kevin’s life. His trips are not just vacations; they are journeys that offer cultural exposure, adventure, and opportunities to meet diverse people. His experiences in places like New Mexico, Brazil, and Thailand have enriched his perspective, enabling him to embrace a more holistic view of the world.

As we closed out our candid conversation, I asked Kevin to share some words of wisdom, particularly to younger people, regarding philanthropy and giving back. “Go with your passion, pick something that truly moves you and you’ll be able to galvanize others to come together with you to make a difference!”

Kevin England’s life story is a compelling narrative and serves as an inspiring example of how a life driven by purpose, passion, and a desire to make a positive impact can truly create a lasting legacy. He hopes his journey will serve as source of inspiration, motivating individuals to pursue their aspirations with unwavering dedication, confront challenges with resilience, and, most importantly, leverage their achievements as a foundation for fostering a positive and enduring influence on society.