Victoria Foundation celebrates leadership

Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson speaks during the recent Donor Tea, celebrating generosity and leadership in Victoria.


Recently the Victoria Foundation was delighted to bring together the people who truly make the work we do possible: our donors.

Each year the Foundation hosts a Donor Tea to let our supporters know what the Victoria Foundation has been up to over the last year, along with our plans for the near future. We also take the opportunity to celebrate their generosity.

The event is also an opportunity to acknowledge other leaders, both present and future, in our community.

Executive Director Jill Robinson accepts the Community Leadership Award on behalf of the Habitat Acquisition Trust.

The Community Leadership Award each year recognizes an organization that demonstrates both exemplary community leadership and a commitment to organizational excellence. This year, the award, which also includes a grant, went to the Habitat Acquisition Trust, which since 1996 has been instrumental in conserving nature on Southern Vancouver Island.

In 2016, friend of the Foundation and local philanthropist Andrew Beckerman handed out the first-ever Longevity in Leadership award, recognizing individuals who have inspired Andrew and others with their commitment to the community. This year, Andrew, an immigrant to Canada himself, chose to honour Jean McRae for her work as the head of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, an organization committed to providing support to newcomers to our region.

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria CEO Jean McRae accepts the Longevity in Leadership award from the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of BC and Patrick Kelly, Victoria Foundation Board Chair.

With the award, Andrew noted that through her 18 years of service, Jean has helped create an agency and environment that provides a warm, welcoming hub to assist our new neighbours as they embark on the path to becoming Canadians.

Finally, we were delighted to hand out Victoria Foundation Loran Provincial Scholarship awards to two impressive young local leaders who undoubtedly have great futures ahead of them. Loran scholars are exceptional Canadians who demonstrate character, service and leadership. These students show personal integrity and character, and have a breadth of academic and extracurricular interests and strongly developed inner-direction.

Each scholarship is $2,000 and from an initial pool of 4,438 applicants, two students were selected.

Catelyn Creswick, from Gulf Island Secondary School on Salt Spring Island, trained as a fire cadet, facilitated activities with seniors at a community centre, and now volunteers in the extended care unit of a hospital. She has been a Best Buddy to a student with disabilities for over three years. She also rows and stage manages school theatre performances.

Students Catelyn Creswick and Arjun Jiranjanan received Loran Provincial Scholarships awards in recognition of their service and leadership.

Arjun Jiranjanan, from Claremont Secondary in Victoria, is impressively active. He runs activities to help Grade 8 students transition to high school, has been volunteering as a reading buddy since age 12 and leads his school’s recycling program. He is also a member of the school badminton team and plays for the local cricket club, as well as holding down a part-time job in retail.

Both are deserving recipients and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.

The event was capped off with the fascinating Six String Nation presentation from Jowi Taylor. As a part of its commitment to the Three Things for Canada campaign, in celebration of Canada 150, the Victoria Foundation brought Taylor to the Capitol Region for a week of presentations at local area middle schools, as well the Donor Tea.

Six String Nation’s Jowi Taylor looks on as Nick Mintenko gets ready to play the beautiful Voyageur guitar.

Six String Nation is a national treasure of a guitar built from pieces of other national treasures from every corner of the nation. Materials incorporated into the guitar include a piece of gold from Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s 1956 Stanley Cup ring, a section of Iqaluit muskox horn and wood from Haida Gwaii’s famous Golden Spruce.

The Victoria Foundation would like to thank Berwick Retirement Communities and its founder,Gordon Denford, for sponsoring the Donor Tea and providing packages of tea for all our guests.

And, as Board Chair Patrick Kelly did at the tea, we would like to again offer congratulations to Hazel and Ramsay Murray. The 2016 Donor Tea was held on Ramsay’s 90th birthday, and this year the couple joined us on their 64th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to you both, and we promise to try and stop stealing the thunder from all your important milestones.