“National Philanthropy Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the acts of kindness and giving that thousands of people on Vancouver Island are doing daily,” Leanne Kopp, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vancouver Island, said at Friday’s National Philanthropy Day award celebrations. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Local leaders of all ages honoured at National Philanthropy Day event

Awards in six categories given to Victoria residents who are leaders in giving back

Philanthropists of all ages were honoured at the National Philanthropy Day award celebrations held at the Victoria Conference Centre Friday.

“National Philanthropy Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the acts of kindness and giving that thousands of people on Vancouver Island are doing daily,” said Leanne Kopp, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vancouver Island. “These actions change our community for the better every single day.”

The evening celebrations began with an empowering keynote address by Joe Roberts, the “Skidrow CEO.” Roberts shared a moving story about his journey from opioid addiction on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to his present day role as a youth homelessness advocate and co-founder of The Push for Change Foundation.

“So many organizations helped me to get to where I am today. I am an example of community investment gone right,” said Roberts, who, after getting clean, spent 17 months walking across Canada pushing a shopping cart to raise awareness of youth homelessness.

RELATED: Finalists announced for Victoria’s National Philanthropy Day awards

The work of many exceptional local philanthropists was highlighted at the event as videos of the finalists were showcased on the big screens. In the end, a winner was chosen for each of six categories.

Andrew Beckerman was presented with the Generosity of Spirit award, by United Way of Greater Victoria.

Andrew Beckerman lives by the motto “do for others as you would have them do for you.” Beckerman has donated over $1.5 million to various charities as well as a planned giving to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria of his personal art collection valued at over $750,000. Often Andrew’s donations come with the condition that they be matched, which has motivated others to donate, doubling the support.

Earlier in the day, an Agents of Change Youth session was held for leadership students in Victoria that saw 160 participates make a promise to give back to their community.

“The promises the students made were truly inspiring,” said Jessica Bell, chair of National Philanthropy Day. “And because of a generous donation from the Andrew D. Beckerman Fund at the Victoria Foundation, each student left with a $100 CanadaHelps gift card to donate to a charity of their choice.”

Jack Boomer was presented with the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer award, by Bayview Place.

Jack Boomer has served as volunteer choir director for the the Arbutus Singers (AS) since its inception in 1998. The fundraising-focused choir has supported 15 charities over the past 20 years, raising close to $400,000. In 2006, Jack established the Arbutus Singers Music Education Society to bring choral music education to kids in marginalized communities in Victoria. The ChoirKids has seen more than 2000 children across seven schools experience the joy and benefits of music. He has volunteered thousands of hours of personal time so that more funds are returned to the community. He has also collected toiletries and other basics through the choir to distribute in a remote community of Nunavut, where he frequently works.

The Golf for Kids Team was presented with the Outstanding Philanthropic Community award, by Camosun College.

Dale Douglas and Murray Stewart created Golf for Kids as a fundraiser for Help Fill a Dream. The first golf tournament raised $14,000, exceeding their expectations. In 2017, Golf for Kids raised $1 million, and in addition to supporting the featured charity, donated funds to 70 additional organizations and children in need of support. They celebrated their 20th event this September.

Coast Capital Savings was presented with the Corporate Responsibility Award, by the University of Victoria.

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, the credit union invested $5.6 million into local communities in 2017, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and is a winner of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation.

Diya Courty-Stephens was presented with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Day award (11-18 years), by Telus.

In 2017, Diya Courty-Stephens started a volunteer organization called Neighbourhood Bites. Already a volunteer for various organizations, Diya was researching the global food waste problem as part of her St. Michael’s University School research class. Diya discovered that a lot of good food that is close to the best-before date is thrown away by stores. Neighbourhood Bites organizes weekly/bi-weekly pick-ups of food that the stores would otherwise discard. Although in its infancy, over $8,500 worth of food has already gone to those in need. Diya is joined by schoolmates Portia Balfour, Meredith Selwood and Jordan Stonehouse to manage the organization.

Andrei Marti was presented with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Day award (5-10 years), by Children’s Health Foundation.

Andrei Marti had two nominations put forward for this award. When Andrei was 5 years old he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and began a quest to help others suffering from the same disease. He has raised $10,000 for Help Fill a Dream and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and dedicates countless hours to giving speeches and educating others on his condition. Last year he got his busking licence and started “handstands for diabetes” on Government Street, collecting more than $1,000 performing during the summer months.

National Philanthropy Day is an event started by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1986. National Philanthropy Day (NPD) is celebrated around the world as a day to recognize the work of charities and remember the extraordinary achievements that philanthropy-giving, volunteering and social engagement has made in all aspects of life. In Canada, NPD is recognized on Nov. 15 as a national day.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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The event’s keynote address was given by Joe Roberts, the “Skidrow CEO.” Roberts shared a moving story about his journey from opioid addiction on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to his present day role as a youth homelessness advocate and co-founder of The Push for Change Foundation. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Coast Capital Savings was presented with the Corporate Responsibility Award at the National Philanthropy Day award celebrations. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Dale Douglas and Murray Stewart were presented with the Outstanding Philanthropic Community award for their work with Golf for Kids. (Keri Coles/News staff)

MC Diane Lloyd (left) and Tami Tate get thanked by Leanne Kopp, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vancouver Island. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Andrei Marti was presented with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Day award (5-10 years), for his work fundraising for Help Fill a Dream and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (Keri Coles/News staff)

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