National Philanthropy Day 2021 | Spotlight on Leonard Nolasco
National Philanthropy Day is set on November 15 each year to celebrate the great contributions of philanthropy, and the active members in the philanthropic sector, who contribute to positive change in our world.
Today, we would like to shine the spotlight on Leonard Nolasco, whom our Chapter honoured earlier this year with an Outstanding New Fundraising Professional Award. We are also thrilled to have Leonard as Chair of one of our signature events next year – Fundraising Day.
Celebrated by colleagues for his easygoing charm and organizational expertise, Leonard joined SickKids Foundation as a Major Gifts fundraiser in 2017. Since then, he’s risen to prominence using his unique ability to manage complex projects, often between diverse stakeholders.
Chief among these projects is the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), which improves the diagnosis and treatment of children with cancer and blood disorders in six Caribbean countries. Working with donors and doctors everywhere from Canada to Barbados to Trinidad and Tobago, Leonard ensured that SCI had the funding needed to realize its ambitious goals, including the training of more than 41 Caribbean nurses in paediatric haematology/oncology.
Within the Foundation, Leonard is the fundraising lead on multiple SickKids priorities, including Paediatric Trauma, the Nursing Education Program in Ghana and other international research projects. Cumulatively, he’s raised more than $4 million for SickKids. He also supports project management of the $1.5 billion SickKids VS. Limits Campaign, the largest in Canadian healthcare history.
Over the last two years, Leonard has emerged as a champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion. A Canadian-Filipino and proud member of the LGBTQ2IA+ community, Leonard launched the first employee resource group for queer employees, helped lead the Foundation’s LGBTQ2IA+ engagement strategy, and fundraised for SickKids’ first-ever Executive Lead and Strategic Advisory in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. He is also the Co-Chair of the Foundation’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where he works to make SickKids Foundation an even better, more equitable workplace.
Prior to his time at SickKids Foundation, Leonard worked for SickKids International as a project manager for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital project in Johannesburg, South Africa where he supported the commissioning and operationalization of the continent’s fifth children’s hospital. From 2011 to 2015, Leonard worked as a senior project coordinator with SickKids International in Doha, Qatar where he helped developed a paediatric care, education and research program alongside the country’s primary health provider.
When asked what he values most about fundraising, he said: “Building meaningful connections with people. I’m fortunate to be able to leverage my experience as an international development project manager and share stories with donors on why these programs matter. It’s also been refreshing to have conversations with donors about equity, diversity and inclusion and the important role we can all play in advancing these values across the sector. Many of us who fundraise for a living do it for one reason – to leave this world a better place than how we found it.”
“He truly lives and embodies all of the values he believes, especially the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access,” says Kirstin Ling, an AFP-GTC New Fundraising Professional Award Committee Member and past award recipient. “I am hopeful for the future with leaders like Leonard who will continue to challenge the status quo and move our sector forward.”