Local Philanthropy Award Winners Announced at 11th Annual National Philanthropy Day Lunch

23 November 2021News & Announcements

On November 15th, we once again partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley to present the 11th Annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon. Over 100 community members, donors, volunteers, charity partners and businesses came together to learn about the work of the ACF and to cheer on the nominees for our 4 award categories. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Give Where You Live’.
We were honoured to have Tamara Taggart, community leader, activist, veteran broadcaster, cancer survivor, mother and former federal election candidate, as our keynote speaker. Born and raised in Vancouver, Tamara is a community leader who advocates for others and raises much-needed funds for many important causes. Throughout her career as a broadcaster on local television, radio and digital media, Tamara earned her place as a trusted voice for people in Vancouver. She has focused two decades’ of volunteer efforts on health care and the well-being of children and people with disabilities. Her inspiring talk on what it means to truly Give Where you Live encouraged all audience members to ask two key questions to practice community care; What do you Need? & How can I Help?

Awards were given out in four categories: Youth Philanthropy, Business Philanthropy, School Group of the Year 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. The Chair of our Community Grants Committee, Denise Thandi said, “the number of organizations and individuals in our community that believe in giving back is inspiring. 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 for their leadership in the creation of the Abbotsford Community Foundation in 1979. This year the award was presented to Saniya Kaushal. Saniya is a medical student who volunteers at the Abbotsford Hospital when she is not studying and attending school. Saniya strives to spark conversations and raise awareness about name calling, bullying, self-image and mental health. She released a poetry book titled You are Not Ugly which was based on her own negative experiences. She recently launched her “you are not ugly foundation” and will be offering workshops to empower individuals who have or are experiencing negative social labels. Her aim is to improve self-image for local youth.

The Business Philanthropy award, sponsored by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, was presented to Abbotsford Chrysler by Chamber Executive Director, Katerina Anastasiadis. Managing Partner, Matt Shirlaw accepted the award on behalf of the company. Abbotsford Chrysler is a generous corporate donor to numerous charities in Abbotsford. Charities such as the Crystal Gala Foundation, Run for Water, Canuck Place, Abbotsford Police Foundation, Abbotsford Community Foundation, Abbotsford Minor Hockey and Abbotsford Hospice, to name a few, have all been recipients of their generosity.

The School Group of the Year award was presented by our Board Chair, Andrea Senft to Godson Elementary School. Godson Elementary raised funds for Canuck Place through the Cookies for Canuck Place Campaign. The Godson community came together and raised an amazing $1,740 through a donation drive. In addition, they contributed their time and talents by creating signage and artwork for the Summer Family BBQ Drive thru. The students at Godson Elementary show they know you don’t have to have a lot to give back and that giving back isn’t just about money. It can be many different things. They inspire each other and the community knowing they can make someone else’s life a little cheerier.

The final award, Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Assante Wealth Management, was presented by Steve Willems, Wealth Advisor with Assante to long-time volunteer, Gagan Phulka. Gagan was born and raised in Abbotsford and has served as a Registered Nurse for the past four years. Since 2014 Gagan has volunteered with Big Brother Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley. She began her journey as an in-school mentor volunteering hundreds of hours. For the past three years, she has sat on the Board of Directors for the organization in the position of Vice-Chair and is committed to using her leadership role to improve mentorship needs for children. Gagan also volunteers her time to improve immigration outcomes in Abbotsford through Archway Community Services sitting on the Immigrant Advisory Table to improve outcomes for newcomers and immigrants to the city of Abbotsford. In addition, she also provides pro-bono service as an RN, volunteering over 1000 hours educating community members on COVID-19, hosting virtual health promotion workshops, and has raised over $5,000 for care packages for local youth centers.

A big thank you to Tamara Taggart for giving an amazing keynote address and congratulations to all the winners and 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 learn more about how you can Give Where You Live, click here.

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