BIG HEARTS: In November, communities across Canada and around the world celebrate National Philanthropy Day and the spirit of giving by hosting events to recognize the efforts of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations and others engaged in philanthropy. The day is intended to pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy — and those individuals and companies active in the philanthropic community — have made for the betterment of all.
The Vancouver chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) marked the occasion by presenting its 13th annual Giving Hearts Award at a National Philanthropy Luncheon held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
More than 650 guests took in the noon hour celebrations. Led by AFP president David Love, and National Philanthropy Day Giving Hearts co-chairs Kyle Tiney, Lana Mador and Lucy Isham-Turner, the awards luncheon recognized 33 individuals and organizations — category finalists — for making a positive impact in our communities. Hosted by Breakfast TV’s Thor Diakow, trophies were presented in seven categories before a keynote address by British Columbia Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin.
Brendan Parker, recipient of the Outstanding Youth Philanthropist Award, received the afternoon’s first of two standing ovations from the audience. A 23-year old with advance Cerebral Palsy, Parker has never let his condition stop him from dreaming big and living life to its fullest. Since 2014, Parker has organized various fundraising drives, raising more than $150,000 to enrich the lives of youth and children living with disabilities.
“As a child growing up with a physical disability, my family made sure that I had as many opportunities for adventure as possible,” said Parker. “Those experiences as a child made me who I am today, and I believe every child should have that opportunity despite their financial means.”
Barbara Grantham, the outgoing CEO & President of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, had everyone on their feet a second time. Widely recognized and well-respected Grantham, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, has been a fixture of the non-profit and philanthropic sector provincially and nationally for 30 years. During her tenure, Grantham has held executive positions with the Vancouver Foundation, Streetohome Foundation, B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Under her leadership, Grantham led the hospital foundation through significant and positive change including launching an organizational rebrand, building a talented and engaged staff team, and reportedly overseeing an 84 per cent increase in revenue making the firm one of the top five revenue-producing health care foundations in Canada.
Charitable giving is a family affair for John and Dana Montalbano. Recipients of the Outstanding Philanthropist Award, the couple are passionate about instilling philanthropic values in their sons Luke and Marco. Their decisions as volunteers and donors are thoughtful and strategic. Science World, Arts Umbrella, the Vancouver Public Library, and B.C. Children’s Hospital are just a few of the beneficiaries. The couple’s giving also extends to formal education with major gifts to both UBC and the University of Victoria supporting students at each institution.
Jimmy Chan and Felicia Fu, owners of National Tile hold similar values. Passionate about giving back, they have taught their young son Riley about the value of philanthropy. Together, they have been helping to raise awareness and the good work of the Canadian Cancer Society to the Asian community. Recipients of the Outstanding Small Business Award, the family has donated more than $250,000 to CCS and held leadership roles to inspire others — young and old — to volunteer and give back.
Others feted included David Podmore (Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser), Sandy So (Outstanding Legacy Philanthropist) and CIBC (Outstanding Corporation). CityTV’s Thor Diakow served as master of ceremonies at the luncheon luau.
Canadian Cancer Society’s Sofia Janmohamed, Central City Foundation’s Jennifer Johnstone and UBC’s Helen Nichols were among 650 guests in attendance for the annual Giving Hearts Award ceremony and luncheon. Photo: Fred Lee.
We Day Celebration Dinner
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Do-gooders Lorne and Melita Segal hosted their annual pre-WE Day Celebration Dinner at their Southlands home. Spurred on in 2007 by their kids Chanel and Matthew after a transformative trip to Kenya hosted by the organization’s founding brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, WE Day Vancouver debut the following year led by the Segal clan. A global youth movement aimed to fire up the next generation of leaders and changemakers to take action to make the world a better place, WE Day rallies take place in major cities across Canada and around the globe.
As usual big-name celebrities took to the Rogers Arena stage to rally and entertain the troops. More than 20,000 students hailing from 1,100 schools from around the province attended the show, earning their way in to the event by doing something good for local and global communities. This year’s participants included musicians Daya, Serena Ryder and Tyler Shaw. Hosted by television personality Jessi Cruikshank, host of Canada’s Smartest Person, there were also appearances by former businessman and Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, and actresses Katherine McNamara and Anna Cathcart.
A few other participants also attended the Segal’s pre-show benefit dinner. They included Nobel Peace Prize recipient James Orbinski, America’s Got Talent tween sensation Darci Lynne, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, and former prime minister of Canada Kim Campbell, who recently helped openWE College, the firm’s first post-secondary institution in Kenya for young women. Instilling the belief that together all of us can do something positive, their messages of shifting the conversation from “me” to “we” also struck a chord with an older generation who gathered at the Segal home.
Familiar names in giving circles, difference makers lending their support to the global cause included Francesco Aquilini, Gary Brown, Ronnie Negus, Pamela and David Richardson; Natalie and Amar Doman, Charles and Jura Kim, Ratana and Arran Stephens, Michelle and Marty Weinberg, Cindy and Ryan Beedie, Sophie and Shamir Alibhai, Arya and Hamid Eshghi, Penny and Marty Zlotnik, and Kyle and Janelle Washington.
WE DAY co-founder Craig Kielburger welcomed former teacher, mentor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient James Orbinski from Doctors Without Borders to his WE Day Vancouver festivities. Photo: Fred Lee.
Diane Forsythe Abbott Crabtree Corner Lunch
PROMISE KEPT: An end of an era, Diane Forsythe Abbott’s Crabtree Corner Charity Luncheon recently concluded with dear friends and family members gathered to pay tribute to the 89-year old who founded the event by chance 25 years ago.
A tale as old as time, Abbott found herself locked out of her car on a blustery December winter night in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Seeking refuge, she wandered inside YWCA’s Crabtree Corner, a transition house for women fleeing violence and abuse. The chance encounter in 1995 with other women seeking a safe place to stay blossomed into a lasting friendship with the firm. Learning of their plight that evening, Abbott vowed she would return and deliver residents a wonderful Christmas.
And did she deliver. Starting with an impromptu luncheon with friends at Trader Vics, her humble lunch would sparkplug an annual Christmas tradition spanning a quarter of a century. Over that period the charitable nooner staged at Trader Vic’s, Delilah’s and for the past decade at Hy’s has been a fixture on the holiday calendar, drawing leading ladies like Lily Lee, Leslie Diamond, Marlene Cohen, Fran Belzberg and others, to the cause. Since its inception, the holiday heartwarmer has raise more than $2 million for Crabtree. A capacity crowd filled the room one last time to raise a glass and pay tribute to Abbott and all her efforts.