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Local Award Winners Announced at 10th Annual National Philanthropy Day Lunch

The Abbotsford Community Foundation held their 10th annual National Philanthropy Day Lunch and awards ceremony at the Clarion Hotel on November 16th, celebrating philanthropy within our community. The theme of this year’s event was “Give Where You Live”.

We were honored to have Angus Reid, 3-time all-star, 2-time Grey Cup Champion and 5-time BC Lions team captain as our keynote speaker. Reid’s inspirational presentation focused on the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude”, and he shared personal stories acknowledging the coaches and mentors who were influential in his rise to success. Reid’s first book, “Thank You Coach”, has already become an Amazon best seller.

Awards were given out in three categories: Youth Philanthropy, Business Philanthropy and Volunteer of the Year and each winner received $500 to donate to the charity of their choice. Our Community Grants committee was tasked with selecting the winners from the many nominations received. Our Community’s Grants Chair, Denise Thandi said, “the number of organizations and individuals in our community that believe in giving back is inspiring. We had a record number of nominations this ear and it was very difficult to pick one winner in each category from so many deserving nominees”.

The Alan and Vivian Trethewey Youth Philanthropy Award was established to acknowledge Alan and Vivian Trethewey for their leadership in the creation of the Abbotsford Community Foundation in 1979. This year the award was presented to Mia Gill. Mia has been giving back to her community for the last six years, volunteering in excess of 1,000 hours of her time. She dedicates herself to raising awareness about important causes, including the creation of a support group for youth who are struggling with mental health issues. She has raised more than $5,000 for the Fraser Valley Health Care Centre pediatrics unit and was also the recipient of a “Rising Youth Canadian Service Corps” grant, using the grant funds to purchase skin tone inclusive art supplies for Abbotsford elementary and preschools to promote multicultural art education to children. In addition to her volunteer initiatives, Mia is a full-time secondary school student and was awarded the top academic student in 2018.

The Business Philanthropy award, sponsored by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, was presented to Clearbrook Iron Works by Chamber Executive Director, Katerina Anastasiadis. Owner, Alvin Unger accepted the award on behalf of the company. Since 2012, Clearbrook Iron Works has donated more than $305,000 to the Crystal Gala Foundation, which includes, in addition to their donation, matching any funds raised by employees, friends and supplier raised contributions. In 2019, Clearbrook Iron Works celebrated their 50th anniversary and invited guests to donate to the Crystal Gala Foundation. Clearbrook Iron Works is also a generous supporter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Abbotsford.

The final award, Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Assante Wealth Management was presented by Mark Dreidiger, Senior Financial Planner for Assante, to long-time volunteer Lorissa Arndt. Lorissa has been a key volunteer in Abbotsford for the past 15 years, tirelessly dedicating herself to giving back to her community. She is passionate about helping at-risk youth and those facing addiction. Lorissa uses her creativity to showcase the arts while helping those in need. In recent years, her work has supported the following charities with financial contributions including The Salvation Army, Starfish Backpack Program, Abbotsford Community Foundation, Big Brothers, Bis Sisters and SARA for Women. In addition, she was Entertainment Chair for the 2016 BC Summer Games, participated in Love Our Bodies/Love Ourselves, Abbotsford Community Services, Communitas Supportive Care and Abbotsford Restorative Justice.

Congratulations to not only all the winners but also the nominees in each philanthropy award category. We are extremely thankful to live in a community that values philanthropy and truly gives where they live. To watch a recording of our 10th annual National Philanthropy Day Lunch, click here.