Each year, National Philanthropy Day recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations in our community that are making a difference in the lives of others.
By ‘changing the world with a giving heart’, these local philanthropists have been named as the top three finalist in six award categories for this year’s National Philanthropy Day awards:
Generosity of Spirit Award, presented by the United Way of Greater Victoria
Elizabeth (Betty) Kennedy
As a patron and advocate on our behalf, as an ambassador for us in the community, and as a faithful financial contributor for several decades, Betty has consistently demonstrated her support, not only for the Royal BC Museum and Archives, but also for the importance of cultural heritage in the development of a vibrant community. Betty has been donating to the Royal BC Museum since her patronage began in the 1990s, and she is one of the most generous donors. The museum is just one of the causes Betty supports. She is a generous donor to the University of Victoria and has been an active supporter of gardening in Victoria. She has gone above and beyond in her dedication and service to others and our city.
Marguerite Rowe is the President of the Board for the Canadian College of Performing Arts, but she is so much more than that. A passionate supporter of the Arts with a “never give up” mindset she has inspired Canadian College of Performing Arts students, staff and faculty over the past 7 years that she has been a volunteer. Marguerite has donated generously and is a member of the Inner Circle of Donors as well as volunteering in a hands-on way by doing everything from stuffing envelopes to gathering auction items to ironing tablecloths for the Day of Bridge! She truly has lead by example, and CCPA is fortunate to have her as a champion of our college.
Hopkins Family and Team 4 Hope
In 2011, the Hopkins family was in search for a way give back to the community after their son, Jordon, survived Neuroblastoma. As a way to celebrate Jordon’s 10 year remission milestone, the Hopkins family created Team 4 Hope. Inspired by their son’s life-changing experience, they decided to spread hope to families who are now or one day will be undergoing treatment for Neuroblastoma. Through Team 4 Hope, the Hopkins family inspired their entire community to participate in their events, many of which have become traditions to countless other families.
Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award, presented by the Coast Capital Savings
Linda Ryder is the Victoria Symphony’s outstanding Volunteer Merchandise Sales Coordinator. Linda delivers up to 60 boxes of chocolates and 200 boxes of tea for sales to over 50 concerts throughout the season. This is a time commitment of over 200 hours, much physical hard work, and requires a high level of reliability and dedication. With her background in bookkeeping, Linda reconciles and tracks all of the sales not only for the chocolates, but the raffle and other merchandise as well. This is a tremendous time saver for symphony staff. Linda also volunteers for many other organizations such as For the Love of Africa Society, Ballet Victoria, and World Vision Canada.
Gerry has been a member of Island Prostate Centre’s Board of Directors since 2011 and is the hands on Chair of the Fund Development Committee. With his lead, IPC forged a new frontier for fundraising for their 15th anniversary. Gerry was instrumental in the activation of a new fund development plan to move IPC from less reliance on events to a greater focus on sustainable major and planned gifts. Gerry first supported IPC in 2007 following his prostate cancer diagnosis. Nearly a decade later, Gerry has continued his generous annual support and again, was the first donor to give at the highest level and has pledged to do so for 5 consecutive years.
Robin Farrell is the co-founder and co-chair of the Cycle of Hope Society. During the past 5 years, she conceptualized a clear mission and spearheaded significant fundraising events throughout our province to successfully raise ALS awareness and inspire hope in families living with ALS. Her leadership skills are outstanding. Each year, she helped prepare and coach a team of novice cyclists to ride a 650km ALS awareness cycling journey. Her work with the Cycle of Hope Society has touched many families and communities locally, provincially, and nationally and has truly brought all of us to believe that there is hope in finding a cure for ALS.
Outstanding Philanthropic Service Club Award, presented by AFP Vancouver Island
Zonta Club of Victoria Canada
Zonta is an international organization which has been empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy for nearly 100 years. The Zonta Club of Victoria was chartered in April 1968 and has been generously supporting local and international organizations for nearly 50 years. Approximately 1/3 of the funds raised in Victoria support international causes, such as UNFPA, Unicef, UN Women, United Nations Trust Fund, Girls Not Brides. The remaining 2/3 helps to fund countless local organizations, including Pearson College, Camosun College, Royal Roads University, Wear 2 Start Society, Warm Up Vancouver Island, Victoria Restorative Justice Society, Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre and the Rock Solid program.
Saanich Baptist Church
Saanich Baptist Church’s connection to Victoria Women’s Transition House started 5 years ago with their Serve The City Program. Over the years, generally twice a year, they send in a team of volunteers to assist with various cleaning and repair projects throughout the VWTH Emergency Shelter. In addition to the cleaning, SBC has also taken on VWTH as one of their Christmas outreach charities. When they learned that the greatest need of the women and children who are staying at the shelter are gift cards to help them with purchasing items to assist them on getting a new start, they would deliver a hand-made wreath decorated with all the gift cards they were able to collect, with a total value of over $3000 each time.
Provincial Employees Community Services Fund (PECSF)
PECSF is a unique and innovative program founded in 1965 to facilitate provincial government employee contributions to charitable organizations. The introduction of PECSF was the beginning of the automatic payroll deduction to charity program for BC Public Service employees. Since then, PECSF’s support of the community has been extraordinary, granting a staggering $45 million to over 900 charitable organizations in 28 regions throughout BC. The purpose of PECSF is to maximize the involvement of provincial employees by providing a flexible and cost-effective means to support their preferred charities. The BC government absorbs all administrative costs so that 100 percent of all employee donations are disbursed to charities.
Corporate Citizenship Award, presented by the University of Victoria
Stantec, an engineering, architectural and environmental services firm, has partnered with a number of charitable organizations to help support the growth and development of everything from social projects to environmental projects to charitable initiatives. At Stantec, one percent of their annual profits is donated through cash contributions or services in kind. In 2015, Stantec invested more than $2.95 million to community engagement initiatives in arts, education, environment, and health and wellness. In addition, last year Stantec offered over $285,903 in scholarships, and have continued their own internal scholarship program.
Victoria Times Colonist
The Times Colonist has been an institution in Victoria for more than 150 years and has been a long term supporter of many local charities. Today, more than 2,500 individuals and families are helped through food vouchers from TC grocer partners. Thanks to the generosity of Times Colonist readers more than $200,000 a year goes directly to the Mustard Seed to help those less fortunate. The Raise-a-Reader is a TC campaign which began in 1997 to increase awareness and raise money for children’s’ literacy programs. School librarians and community groups apply directly to the TC to receive funds, which totaled $269,145 in 2015. Additionally, the TC supports more than 150 local charities and community groups each year through the donation of in-kind advertising. This donated advertising has a value of over $3 million annually.
MAXIMUS BC Health Inc.
MAXIMUS Canada recognizes that their role as a business leader includes the responsibility to create a positive impact in the diverse communities where they live, work and provide support. In Victoria, MAXIMUS founded the UrbaCity Challenge in 2011 as a way to support local charities while allowing their staff the opportunity to give back while engaging in a local, fun event. Close to 100 MAXIMUS volunteers power the UrbaCity Challenge that takes place annually. Since 2013, IPC has been the benefiting charity of the UrbaCity Challenge, with over $100,000 raised, with 40% of those funds donated directly by MAXIMUS Canada.
Youth in Philanthropy Award (Ages 5 – 10), presented by The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island
Andrei is six years old and was diagnosed with type one diabetes in August of 2015. Since that time he has managed to raise $2,200 for JDRF in the hopes that they will find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. He has gone door to door collecting recycling to raise much of this money. His plan is to continue this fundraiser until a cure is found. With the help of his mom he has written friends all over the world to contribute. Andrei was told at the hospital by a doctor when he was diagnosed that “there will be no cure in my lifetime” and Andrei said “well there will be in mine”. He can’t pass an empty bottle without looking at it as a help towards a cure.
South Park Family School – Division 9
Last December, the students from the grade 4/5 in South Park Family School’s Division 9 took the lead in the school’s fundraising project by organizing a Coin Drive. They narrowed down the options to 3 charities: the BCSPCA, the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and a Syrian Refugee Family. Once the choices were narrowed down to 3 groups, the students voted on a higher fundraising goal so that they may raise more money from the Coin Drive with the intention of being able to give to all three causes. They made posters, delivered coin jars to different classrooms, and every time, they gave a little speech about the coin drive and how kids and families could donate. In the end the Coin Drive was able to successfully raise $1200 that will be split equally between the three chosen charities.
Youth in Philanthropy Award (Ages 11 – 18), presented by TELUS
Central Middle School
During a storm of opposition, My Place Transitional Home opened its doors across the street from Central Middle School the first week of January 2016. Residents of the Home came from Victoria’s ‘Tent City’ with many having lived outdoors for years. What happened next was nothing short of amazing! In the face of adversary, the students of Central Middle School opened their hearts to the homeless residents across the street and proved that compassion can do more good than anger or fear. Through various fundraisers the students have so far raised about $600 for My Place. In addition to the support for My Place, students also raised $4,500 for Syrian refugees, and recently raised $1,000 to support people from Ecuador and Fort McMurray.
Kaelynn is a grade 9 honour roll student at Stelly’s Secondary who is characterized by her teachers and peers as a hardworking dependable young lady. Kaelynn possesses a keen desire to help others and demonstrates such leadership skills by working on community projects that support children to grow and develop confidence. Due to Kaelynn’s passion and commitment to outdoor activities, she focused her efforts on raising $300 and awareness for Search and Rescue Society of BC (SARBC) Project Lifesaver Program. This program provides a personal transmitter worn on the wrist or ankle that emits an individualized tracking signal to assist locating people at risk of wandering. Search times have been reduced from hours and days to an average of 30 minutes with this program.
Edward Milne Community School Leadership Class
The Leadership class from Edward Milne Community School in Sooke does what many Leadership classes do within the school, by creating a positive and energetic culture, but it is the local and national projects that set this group apart. This year’s EMCS Leadership group was the driving force in creating a school district-wide food drive, 10,000 Tonight, with the aim of gathering 10,000 non-perishable food items for local food banks. The event raised over 12,000 food items in just 4 hours. This one event stocked up the Sooke Food Bank, and fed 300 families in the Sooke area at Christmas.
The National Philanthropy Day celebration will be held on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The Victoria event is presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Vancouver Island.