Giving Back to a Cause Close to Home

January 21, 2022
Headshot of Michael Fraleigh and quote on volunteering


To say Michael Fraleigh likes to help is an understatement. In addition to his busy  health law practice, he manages to spend a considerable amount of time giving  back to his community. According to Michael, who is the President of Temple Sinai  Congregation of Toronto and on the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Society  of Ontario, “when you invest the time and energy to volunteer, you are investing in  yourself just as much as the causes you support.”

For almost two decades, Michael has been involved in leadership roles with both  the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto and now the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario. When asked about how he became involved in his various volunteer commitments  he jokingly replies “Most of the time you get involved because someone ropes you  in.” Joking aside, as a community based organization, Michael plays an important role in helping to direct the  Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario’s strategic focus and fundraising efforts. He says, instead of focusing on research,  the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario is focused on providing support to local chapters which provide programs,  counselling and education, to support individuals and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s. This shared  purpose to create a community of support is a feature of the organization Michael highly values.

Currently over 500,000 Canadians are living with dementia, a number that is  set to reach 912,000 in 2030 due to a rapidly aging population. In addition to  those who are themselves afflicted, one in five Canadians have experience  caring for someone with the condition. Michael, whose father, mother and  grandmother had suffered from dementia, with the latter two also having  Alzheimer’s, is able to relate to what many Canadians currently face. Having  lived this experience prompted Michael to get involved, so that he could  learn more and help others who are going through what he and his family  went through.

For many, choosing to serve on a non-profit board allows you to become an  integral part of solving problems in your community. In addition to his work  with the Alzheimer’s Society, Michael is also the President of Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto. Like many organizations, he has spent much of his  time this past year working with the executive and staff to navigate the  COVID-19 pandemic to help the Temple Sinai Congregation stay connected.  When asked about his volunteer experience, and any advice he had for  younger lawyers on the benefits of giving back to their community, he  shared: “Volunteering provides you the opportunity to contribute in ways that  are different from your day-to-day job. When you are focused on a common  cause, you use and develop different skills and engage with people on a  different level.”

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario visit