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 finalists in seven award categories for this year’s National Philanthropy Day awards. Winners will be announced during the ceremony taking place on Wednesday, November 13th at the McPherson Playhouse, with keynote speaker Paul Brandt, Canadian country singing legend and philanthropist. The Generosity of Spirit Award and the Generosity of Spirit Legacy Award honourees have already been selected.
Generosity of Spirit Award sponsored by Victoria Foundation
Patty Pitts identifies with the feelings of helplessness and despair that many bear when supporting and witnessing loved ones as they wrestle with the unfairness of cancer, its treatments and its side effects. Patty’s close friends Carol Lalonde and Marlene Palmer both recently passed away from ovarian cancer, during a time when Patty’s aunt Una Ferguson was also approaching the end of her life. Una encouraged Patty to travel the world with the inheritance she would leave her, but Patty also decided to use part of her inheritance to establish The Carol Lalonde/Marlene Palmer Ovarian Cancer Research Fund with a $250,000 gift, to bring new hope to British Columbians facing an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Patty wished to create something positive out of a difficult year and has demonstrated that philanthropy is a choice that we can all make, whether it be time, talent or treasure, regardless of how many resources we have available to us. Every organization needs donors and ambassadors like Patty who has shown exceptional generosity, cares about our overall community and inspire others to see that they too, can be philanthropic leaders!
Generosity of Spirit Legacy Award sponsored by Victoria Foundation
SISTERS OF ST. ANN
This year marks 161 years since the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) Pacific Northwest arrived in Victoria. They opened 38 schools and 10 hospitals throughout BC, the Yukon and Alaska, subsidizing these efforts through their own labour and money. While their numbers are dwindling, with several Sisters living at Mount St. Mary Hospital, their philanthropy, determination and spiritual passion continues. Recent donations having included $3.2 million to the Victoria Foundation, $2.5 million to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital Legacy Fund, $450,000 to Cool Aid towards affordable housing, $2.0 million to help students with financial need attend UVIC, $400,000 to Nigel House replacement project, $4 million in land to Providence Farm Rehabilitative Centre (Duncan). Their legacy will live on for years to come.
Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award sponsored by Andrew D. Beckerman
Michael Bloomfield has devoted a lifetime to charitable work. Since 2007, he has motivated community members and McGregor Socks on behalf of homeless Victoria residents. The result has been astonishing – so far Michael has raised funds and socks to provide 95,000 pair, worth at least $500,000. Socks are incredibly important to health, particularly if you are homeless. Private donations were critical to fill the gap for the region’s poorest residents. His very personal approach has meant success; thank you emails and hand-written cards achieved great donor retention and built a coalition of partners. Michael and his family donate regularly to Cool Aid and have honoured the Society with a bequest. They support many other causes. Cool Aid is grateful for their generosity but the Bloomfields insist it’s a worthwhile investment: “A healthy, prosperous community is the best place to live and we’re investing for future generations too.”
If you were to use one word to describe Charlotte Salomon, it would be: Giving. Her life is devoted to giving back while still squeezing every last drop out of daily living. Charlotte is a local lawyer, athlete, fashionista, business icon and fundraising volunteer par excellence who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and sustained passion for giving. For the past five years, Charlotte has been the Chair of the Our Place Hungry Hearts event committee. Each year under her leadership, the event revenue has increased. This past year, the event raised over $150,000 with all proceeds dedicated to the vital work that Our Place does for vulnerable populations. Charlotte volunteers with numerous other organizations in Victoria, taking every opportunity to lead by example and our community is so much better for it.
Carly has been raising funds for the BC Children’s Hospital since 2017 in a number of roles, helping secure sponsorships, soliciting prizes, and selling tickets to their fundraising events. She serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Festival of Trees Committee, where she is responsible for ensuring that the Festival is positioned to achieve fundraising success each year. Leading a team of 100 volunteers, Carly was also responsible for recruiting, training and inspiring them leading up to the event. In addition to the many organizations Carly supports, she also leverages her current role as Community Manager at Used.ca to improve the community by finding ways for the company to help others. Countless grateful Victorians have appreciated the genuine and caring steps Carly has taken to help them.
Outstanding Philanthropic Community Award sponsored by Camosun College
CHERISH ORGANIZING COMMITTEE: KARI MCLAY, KIRSTY THOMSON, LYNDA RAINO
Kari, Kirsty and Lynda are well-known in the Victoria business and cultural community and are key members of the Cherish fundraising event, benefitting the Victoria Women’s Transition House and Dance Victoria. Brought together by a shared interest in supporting the arts and an organization committed to keeping women and children safe, the three have been instrumental in producing a sold-out celebration that combines the beauty of dance with the latest in stylish fashions. Over the past two years, Kari, Kirsty and Lynda, with help from the 10+ Cherish Committee members, have raised in excess of $120,000, split between the two charity beneficiaries, who are eternally grateful for their support.
SUPERHEROES OF VICTORIA
What do you get when you take a group of individuals with pure hearts, giving souls and secret identities? The Superheroes of Victoria. This volunteer group started with a simple mission: to help in our community in any way possible. Ten years later, the Superheroes of Victoria Volunteer Society has now grown to become a free volunteer resource available for over 60 charitable organizations and community groups, and the list is still growing. They run a Superhero Literacy Tour with local schools and libraries, organize a Junior Superheroes volunteering program, make monthly visits to the pediatrics wing of the Victoria General Hospital and produce a Junior Superhero calendar to benefit Help Fill a Dream.
VICTORIA MARATHON SOCIETY
The Victoria Marathon Society (VMS) started the Charity Pledge Program (CPP) 15 years ago as part of the Royal Victoria Marathon (now the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon) which celebrated 40 years in 2019. The CPP was created to help charities both large and small meet their fundraising goals and raise awareness of their cause. The VMS provides leadership and training to the charities as well as fundraising opportunities, networking and mentorship. Fundraising is very much focused on the individual, not corporations. Whether the goal is $1,000 or $20,000 all of the pledges and donations through the CPP go to the charities. Since inception over 175 charities have benefited from the CPP and in 2019 it surpassed $2 Million.
Corporate Responsibility Award sponsored by University of Victoria
Peninsula Co-op has a commitment to giving back and last year alone, contributed over $500,000 to 300 charities, community groups, and other initiatives on Vancouver Island. Considering its size and its unique structure, the local and member-owned Peninsula Co-op is very generous in its giving and will invest another $600,000 into Vancouver Island communities this year. Peninsula Co-op is very proud to support smaller community initiatives through its Community Support Program. Annually, it assists as many organizations as it possibly can. In addition to its philanthropic gifts, charities are invited to request sponsorship for their events or even plan a car wash or bottle drive. Organizations large and small benefit from Peninsula Co-op’s community engagement that has totalled nearly $5 Million since 1999.
IG WEALTH MANAGEMENT
The Victoria IG Wealth Management group truly is a firm of people who care. We see this ethos in action in the tremendous support they and their clients have demonstrated for our mission work to foster more dementia-friendly communities where people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are acknowledged, supported and included. The management office in Victoria demonstrates true corporate responsibility and leads by example at all levels of the organization. Their staff members have volunteered to chair the Victoria walk committee for the past four years, they hold office-wide fundraising events and since 2016, this remarkable group of people has helped raise $221,350. The team truly are making a positive difference to the quality of life for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Concert Properties takes the notion of corporate responsibility seriously. This award-winning, union and management pension fund owned company makes an outstanding difference by giving back to the communities where their employees work, live and build. In recent years, and together with their trade and supplier partners, Concert Properties raised over $3 million in support of trades training at BCIT, George Brown College, and Camosun College, ensuring our community will have the skilled trades people we need to literally build our future. Concert Properties believes that giving back to the community is not just the right thing to do, it’s also an essential part of their role as a community builder. Concert Properties exemplifies real, sustained philanthropy in the communities they serve.
Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award (5-10 years) sponsored by Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island
After taking a tour with his mom at Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing Emergency Shelter, Connor was inspired to do even more to help. So with the assistance of his parents, he organized his very own concert to benefit Cool Aid. The event was free but everyone in attendance was asked to make a donation. A total of 81 guests attended and together they raised $1,091.70! Connor has shown us that with a little determination and a lot of heart, anyone can make a difference at any age. At the age of 5, Connor has already shown compassion and leadership well ahead of his time. He hopes to make this an annual tradition and raise more money each year.
Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award (11-18 years) sponsored by TELUS
In 2018, Jessica attended our NPD Youth session, which she found inspiring and life-changing. She started “This is Harm Reduction” in August 2018, a project focused on supporting and educating youth on the opioid crisis and how a harm reduction approach saves lives. She decided to create a series of workshops where youth could have conversations with front line workers, get naloxone trained, and leave with lifesaving information to teach their peers. In addition to this project, Jessica volunteered 300 hours over her grade 11 year to support mental health and harm reduction-related initiatives. Jessica has been recognized by Judy Darcy, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, for her leadership and commitment. She is a member of the Provincial Youth Action Council for Foundry BC as well as the Youth Action Committee at Foundry Victoria.
THE SUPER SEVEN
Seven special kids whose dreams were filled by Help Fill A Dream as a result of Golf For Kids have developed a particular passion to pay it forward for the incredible experiences they received. Affectionately know as the "Super Seven", Braiden (19), Seth (13), Andrei (10), Aurora (6), Emma (14) and twins Asher and Nolan (9) banded together to raise $17,750 that they presented at the Golf For Kids tournament on September 7th, 2019. Their fundraising helped to fulfill multiple dreams of kids just like them. Money was raised through bake sales, making crafts, birthday parties, recycling bottles, busking and selling lemonade. Their efforts were supported by family and friends. The kids’ fundraising was exceptional and they are already planning for 2020.
Owen first came to the Island Prostate Centre when he was just six years old – around the time his grandfather was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer. When Owen was told of the news, he immediately went to work, fundraising $400. He is a perfect example that you are never too small to make a big difference. His dedication and selflessness, starting to show at such a young age, is an inspiration for many. He has raised over $23,000, and will undoubtedly not stop for the foreseeable future! Owen plans to continue his fight against this cancer and claims that if all the money doesn’t help, he’s going to become a doctor so that he can find a cure himself.