Ottawa Philanthropy Awards celebrate extraordinary contributions made by volunteers and donors

Some 400 people attend AFP Ottawa’s 25th annual awards dinner held at National Arts Centre

             BY: Caroline Phillips – Ottawa Business Journal 

This year’s winners of an Ottawa Philanthropy Award don’t have to be reminded that it’s always better to give than to receive.

The seven generous and caring individuals, groups and businesses recognized Wednesday night at the 25th Annual AFP Ottawa Philanthropy Awards have been doing nothing but dish out their time, money, experience and/or skills to help make Ottawa a better place.

The Canada Room at the National Arts Centre was filled with 400 attendees, many of whom were left inspired, proud, humbled and perhaps even blown away after learning that one of the award winners, Dymon Storage, a private Ottawa-based company, is committed to donating half of its operating profits back to the community.

Margot Ault chaired the dinner for her third and final year, cutting it very close to the due date of her first child (three weeks and counting!). She spoke about what a privilege and honour it’s been to have served in her role, and of the positive impact of Ottawa’s philanthropic spirit.

“Philanthropy is where we turn when problems are too big or daunting to tackle alone, and when deserving causes and needs slip through the cracks of our social safety net,” said Ault, manager of philanthropy for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

“The winners tonight are a reflection of our community, of our home — Ottawa. They are a reflection of the benevolence of our community, the passion of our community, the diversity of our community.

“They reflect the generosity of time and money and sweat and tears that go into bettering public and private institutions, and improving the lives of those who need a helping hand.”

The evening was emceed by 1310 News and Rogers TV host Mark Sutcliffe, who’s also a partner in the Ottawa Business Journal and a former recipient of the AFP’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award.

On hand were AFP Ottawa board president Teresa Marques, president and CEO of The Rideau Hall Foundation, and Peter Nicholson, president and founder of The Foundation (WCPD), a financial services firm specializing in philanthropy. It was back for its fourth year as the dinner’s presenting sponsor and is also a returning partner in the latest 84-page Giving Guide publication launched that evening.

Ten-year-old Logan Hussein melted hearts with his adorable acceptance speech for Outstanding Youth Philanthropist, sponsored by RBC.

Hussein has raised more than $50,000 for specialized equipment in the CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit through annual birthday parties that he hosts with his parents at their home. Last year, alone, he raised $15,000.

“You’re probably wondering, ‘What’s this kid’s story?’ ” he said, standing on a milk crate for added height.

“Well, here it is: it was a dark and stormy morning,” Hussein began, causing the room to erupt in laughter as he borrowed one of the most famous opening lines in literary history. He continued to share the story of how, as a newborn, he had to be rushed to CHEO’s NICU. “I came into this world, not crying. I couldn’t; my lungs had collapsed and I was struggling to grasp for air.”

Hussein, who’s now perfectly healthy, is striving to raise $11,000 for CHEO’s NICU at his upcoming 11th birthday bash. He spoke about how fun and well-attended his parties are, with magicians, balloon artists, face painting and ball hockey. There’s apparently one thing that’s missing, though. “I’ve been trying to get a Sens player to attend (hint, hint).”

The impressive young man, who delivered parts of his acceptance speech in French, is also the youngest recipient of the Order of the Good Bear, the highest honour bestowed by the CHEO Foundation.

Jim Orban, president and CEO of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, landed the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award, sponsored by Global Philanthropic, for raising more than $100 million for the Heart Institute’s largest-ever campaign. In accepting his award, he shared his recognition with his entire “dream team,” making a point of naming each member and asking them to rise from their seats.

He recalled a quote that he’d seen on a banner two nights earlier, at JNF Ottawa’s Negev Dinner, from Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you”.

“That’s what I think a meaningful life is; living not for oneself but for one’s community,” said Orban.

Construction industry leader Paul McCarney was awarded this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, sponsored by his alma mater, Carleton University, where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering.

He has co-chaired the President’s Breakfast for The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, has been a strong leader in its annual The Ride fundraiser, and was involved in its $100-million Legacy Campaign. He’s also been an invaluable supporter of The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health.

“What motives me or many of you to give back?” McCarney, president and CEO of Clean Water Works, said at the podium. “It’s that will to want to make the community a little better, and to help those who are less fortunate.

“I realized at a young age I had an advantage, a real head start over millions of other kids in this world,” said McCarney, while adding that his father, a general surgeon, and his mother served as excellent role models for him and his five siblings. McCarney’s parents took in a ward of the Children’s Aid Society. As his family of eight quickly became nine, he found himself, at the age 16, serving as a big brother to the boy. One of the other major charities he’s a tremendous booster of is Christie Lake Kids, which helps to provide a better future for kids from economically disadvantaged backgrounds

The Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist Award went to Dymon Storage. It’s been helping The Ottawa Mission since 2012, most recently with its $300,000 gift toward its health clinic to offer primary medical care and dental services to individuals who are homeless, or at risk for homelessness.

“The way I see it, we’re all very fortunate,” said Glen Luckman. “We live in a great country and city, with a society that actually compensates us lucratively when we are successful.”

He spoke about society being built on the success of those who came before us. “Warren Buffett said it so well when he said, ‘Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago’.

“Most everyone here tonight are, figuratively, planting trees and shading others.”

The crowd broke into applause after Luckman shared how Dymon has committed to donating 50 percent of all operating profits and 50 percent of the growth in the company’s value back to the community.

Ottawa businesswoman Marina Kun received the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award, sponsored by PGgrowth, for her support of Ottawa Chamberfest. Her philanthropy has helped the arts organization bring internationally renowned artists to Ottawa to perform at its summer music festival.

“I cannot express adequately the tremendous pleasure and happiness I receive when I’m at a concert and know that I have participated in bringing joy to so many people,” said Kun. “I look at people, and everybody is so happy and smiling.”

Kun is the owner of Kun Shoulder Rest, which manufacturers string-instrument accessories used by musicians around the world. She told the room how she’s always had a love and appreciation for classical music, even though she’s not an accomplished musician nor comes from a musical family. “

She apologized for being at a loss for words, explaining that she’s used to speaking in Spanish, having just returned from a trip to Mexico. After she collected her award and left the stage, Sutcliffe’s quick sense of humour shone through. He thanked Kun and congratulated her— in Spanish.

The Outstanding Philanthropic Group Award went to H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere) Volleyball SummerFest. What started as a small event has grown into the world’s largest one-day volleyball event with live entertainment. It has supported more than 110 charities and raised close to $3 million over the past 38 years. The award was accepted by executive director Holly Tarrison-Gaskin.

This year’s Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist Award, sponsored by Brazeau Seller Law, went to Tony Priftakis, owner of Gatineau’s Buffet des Continents. It hosts four to five charity events a year for CHEO. As well, roughly 90 per cent of the restaurant’s 105 employees donate $1 a week from their paycheques to help the children’s hospital. The restaurant has raised $114,000 over the course of 10 years. “The lesson is: you start small, take baby steps, and over the years you can achieve big things,” he said at the podium.

The recipients were chosen by a selection jury consisting of Bernie Ashe, retired CEO of OSEG, Stephen Greenberg (Osgoode Properties), Mariette MacIsaac (Trinity Development Foundation), Suzanne Pinel, Brian Scott (Smith, Petrie, Carr & Scott Insurance Brokers), articling student Patrick Pwagirayezu (Emond Harnden), Jennifer Van Noort (The Ottawa Hospital Foundation) and Sheila Whyte (Thyme & Again).



Culture of kindness

The Foundation (WCPD) supports the OSM’s Opening Night Concert as a Presenting Sponsor, as it continues to recognize the importance of music and culture for all of society

Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”

Earlier this month, The Foundation WCPD gave voice and support to the Orchestre Symponique de Montreal (OSM) by serving as the Presenting Sponsor at its Opening Night Concert. Fiera Capital also served as a Presenting Sponsor alongside The Foundation. More than 280 people attended the annual event, which raised nearly $200,000 for one of the most important cultural institutions in Canada.

“The OSM wishes to thank its presenting partners. Without our partners, we could not have raised these much needed funds,” says Catherine Lussier, the Head of Project for Philanthropic Events.

“This event will allow our talented artists to continue their incredible work and support the more than 150 concerts we hold each year. We thank The Foundation (WCPD) for its commitment to culture.”

While the Opening Night Concert assists the artists of today, the OSM is also focused on the musicians of tomorrow.

In particular, the OSM is committed to many educational and outreach programs for young people. These educational programs range from opportunities in elementary school all the way to instruction at the college and university level. 

For elementary schools, for example, the OSM allows children to become familiar with classical music by offering educational concerts. In addition, teaching guides, online resources and educational activities give students ongoing exposure and education as it relates to instruments and composers.

Bita Cattelan, VP of Philanthropy at The Foundation (WCPD), has been a strong supporter of culture and the OSM for many years.

While the preservation of our cultural heritage is important, Cattelan also believes that music can play an integral role in health and education, whether it is used as a form of therapy, or as a mechanism to help children excel in school and their daily lives.

Through the generous support of major donors, the OSM has built a music school in Montreal for children from disadvantaged backgrounds called La Musique Aux Enfants. Over the last three years, these children had the opportunity to visit the music school and learn to play an instrument.

“And the results are now coming in,” she explains.

“The hope and belief is these children not only go on to study music, but it has also been linked to an improvement in behavior and learning capabilities.”

The results will be shared with the provincial government as evidence that music programs in schools can have a positive impact on the lives of young people.

Apart from its support of the OSM, another key aspect of WCPD’s commitment to the arts is the creation the Cultural Philanthropic Advisory Council.  Dedicated to promoting philanthropy for arts and culture across Canada, its members are considered key leaders and influencers, with a united desire to maximize donations to the artistic community.

Members of this council include Andrew Wan, Concertmaster  at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Alain Dancyger, Executive Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and David Moss, the founding National Executive Director of Culture Days, the largest arts and cultural participation and engagement initiative in Canadian history.

“For me, I do it because I really enjoy performing arts. I was exposed when I was young, and it really nourishes me. I make my way to the concert hall and I get reenergized,” Cattelan says, who is also a member of the Cultural Philanthropic Advisory Council.” Second, I understand the challenges and struggles that artists are faced with. They are so passionate about their art – it is hours and hours of commitment to perform and perfect their craft. I really appreciate that. I do believe we need to advance culture and help these artists. It is a very challenging path.”

To learn more about the OSM and consider a donation, click here.


Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits

The largest source of philanthropic support for nonprofits in the United States is giving from individual donors. Of the total charitable giving in 2018, individual donors contributed 68 percent. However, the recent decline in giving among small- and medium-gift givers means that major donors are becoming critically important to nonprofits.

Based on survey responses from 198 nonprofit CEOs on CEP’s Grantee Voice panel, Crucial Donors: How Major Individual Givers Can Best Support Nonprofits provides insight into what support nonprofits already receive from major donors, what major donors can do to support nonprofits better, and how nonprofits’ relationships with major donors differ from their relationships with staffed foundations. This resource also includes questions to guide major donors in building relationships, addressing the understanding gap, and deciding what kind(s) of support to provide to nonprofits.

Click here to download your copy of the full report.

Nicholson honoured for innovation in philanthropy

The Foundation (WCPD) had the distinct honour of serving as co-presenter at a recent event at the Chabad Westmount in Montreal, which brought together more than 250 guests to discuss the future of philanthropy.

Hosted by Rabbi Yossi Shanowitz and Rabbi Ariel Stern, the event, entitled “Celebrating and Advancing Impactful Giving”, featured a panel discussion with well-known community leaders, including Patricia Saputo, CFO of Placement Italcan Inc., Aldo Bensadoun, Founder and Executive Chairman of the ALDO Group, and Robert Kleinman, Executive VP of the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

The panel discussion was moderated by Caroline Montminy, VP of Burgundy Asset Management.

The guest of honour was Alexander Friedman, Chief Engineer of Israel’s Beresheet SpaceIL Systems Lunar Project.

“At Chabad of Westmount, we are dedicated to educating the next generation to be proactive in kindness and giving.  Our youth programs facilitate and encourage young people to engage in volunteer work and acts of kindness,” said Rabbi Ariel Stern at Chabad Westmount.

“WCPD is part of that circle of kindness and giving and we are so pleased to have partnered with them for this fabulous evening. It truly raised awareness on advancing and celebrating philanthropy and innovation”.

As part of the evening, Peter Nicholson, the President and Founder of WCPD Inc., was presented with a very special award for his contributions to innovation and philanthropy.

“I thank the Chabad Westmount for this distinct honour,” said Nicholson.

“Our firm is passionate about helping philanthropists give more to charities of their choice. Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Ariel have shown incredible leadership in this regard and I am humbled to accept this award.”

Also receiving a Philanthropy Appreciation Award was Robert Wares, on behalf of Osisko Mining Inc., who serves as the Executive Vice President of Exploration and Resource Development.

Other sponsors for the evening included Burgundy Asset Management, Engel Volkers and RBC.






INFOGRAPHIC: Metals and minerals used in renewable power generation

The world is rapidly transitioning to low-carbon technologies to combat climate change.

However, these technologies require large amounts of minerals.

To meet this demand, more mining and mineral recycling will be needed.

Why will a low-carbon future be more mineral intensive?

You can learn more about it here.