Philanthropy Awards

2017 Award Recipients

TORONTO, ON (October 17, 2017) – The AFP Philanthropy Awards Committee, AFP Greater Toronto Chapter is very pleased to announce your 2017 slate of award recipients.  “When we first conceived this event more than 20 years ago, our intent was to celebrate the best of philanthropic engagement in our communities. Today more than ever, our Committee is humbled by the commitment, passion and selflessness of the many distinguished nominees”, said Ken Mayhew, Awards Selection Committee Chair. “Each of our 2017 honourees have made distinct and important contributions and all reflect the best in giving and volunteer leadership.” The 2017 honourees are:

  • Outstanding Philanthropists: John and Myrna Daniels
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Bill Downe
  • Outstanding Corporation: Genworth Canada
  • Outstanding Foundation: The Slaight Family Foundation
  • Outstanding Fundraising Professional: Ingrid Perry
  • Mo Davies Small Organization for Excellence in Fundraising: Rainbow Railroad
  • Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy: Josh Morrison
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim Hilborn

AFP’s Ken Mayhew said, “so many critically important initiatives simply would not happen without the generosity of donors and passionate volunteers. This year’s award winners stand as a testament to that and their efforts, combined with the strength of the fundraising professionals and organizations who support them, ultimately make our world a better place in which to live. I look forward to celebrating with you on November 22nd”.”

The 2017 recipients will be honoured at the Philanthropy Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, November 22nd at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, as part of Congress 2017, the Greater Toronto Chapter’s annual conference.

AFP Greater Toronto Chapter has honoured leadership in philanthropy through its annual awards program since 1995. This year’s group of extraordinary recipients will join a long list of generous Canadians. These awards celebrate the outstanding contribution of time, leadership and financial support of a special group of Canadians who set new benchmarks of excellence in the acts of giving and volunteering.

Watch the 2017 recipients’ video profiles

Outstanding Philanthropist:
John and Myrna Daniels

John and Myrna Daniels

John and Myrna Daniels have made transformational gifts to organizations and communities in Toronto with a focus on the arts, health care and education.

In 2008, John and Myrna made a $14M gift to his alma mater, the University of Toronto. Now known as the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, this generous gift was the largest ever for a Canadian architecture school. A portion of this gift established the John and Myrna Daniels Scholars Award endowment, supporting talented architecture students in need of financial assistance.  Five years after this gift was made, John and Myrna committed $10M to expand the faculty and facilitate their move to the historic space at One Spadina Crescent.

In 2003, John and Myrna made their first gift to UHN through Toronto General & Western Hospital. 14 years after their first gift, through their Foundation, they donated $20M to support three major areas at UHN, with a particular focus on the diseases of aging.

John and Myrna were early supporters of the TIFF and later helped build the festival’s permanent home, the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Daniels Group also gifted the festival $18.55M in support of the capital project. The Daniels’ love of film is also reflected in their 2007 gift to build a movie theatre at the Hospital for Sick Children.

The Daniels’ have integrated this philanthropic thinking into their corporate culture and the Daniels Corporation donates generously to many organizations addressing a variety of issues. John and Myrna Daniels are dedicated citizens with a life-long devotion to philanthropy that has helped countless people across the GTA.

Outstanding Volunteer:
Bill Downe

Bill Downe headshot

Bill Downe is a Canadian business leader, dedicated volunteer and philanthropist who has a genuine commitment to the city he lives in and has worked to draw attention to some of the city’s most marginalized communities.

Bill Downe recently retired as CEO of BMO Financial Group. He has motivated over 15,000 company employees to participate in the United Way Employee Giving Campaign. Under Bill’s directorship, BMO employee participation in agency visits had increased by over 300% and the number employees who donate has increased to a level of 90% last year. In 2009 he led the Toronto campaign to raise a record-breaking $109M in support.

Bill has served as a member of the Rotman School of Management’s Campaign Cabinet and is currently a member of the Campaign Executive for the University’s Boundless campaign. The University has reached its $2B goal and decided to extend its campaign goal to $2.4B. Bill’s leadership has been invaluable to the University reaching its goal early.

Bill became Chair of the St. Michael’s Hospital in 2006, where he was a key figure in directing BMO Financial Group’s gift to the Centre for Research on Inner City Health, which created the BMO Vulnerable Population Unit. Bill also served as a campaign cabinet member, helping raise $140M and to secure $15M in federal funding to build the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

His volunteer and philanthropic actions demonstrate his belief in the importance of sharing one’s strengths for the benefit of those on the margins of society.  He is helping make Toronto a better place to live.

Photo Credit: Bank of Montreal

Outstanding Corporation:
Genworth Canada

Genworth Canada logo

In 2016, Habitat for Humanity Canada, along with its partners and volunteers, helped 273 Canadian families build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership. Like many non-profit organizations Habitat Canada relies heavily on the support of its partners to fulfill its mission.

Last year one partner in particular, Genworth Canada, stood out in terms of its financial support, leadership and generosity. Every day Genworth Canada employees work closely with customers, industry partners and community organizations to help make homeownership a reality for families. Like Habitat Canada, Genworth Canada believes strongly that access to responsible, affordable homeownership is key to building stronger families and stronger communities.

Since 2000, Genworth Canada has donated over $4 million in support of Habitat Canada and has empowered thousands of families through affordable homeownership.

In addition to its generous financial support, Genworth Canada employees, including President and CEO Stuart Levings and his executive team, have lent their leadership experience, industry knowledge and valuable time to help launch many of Habitat Canada’s programs. Those successful programs include Genworth Canada’s Homebuilding Grants, that have resulted in local Habitats building more homes in communities across the country; Habitat Global Village’s program in Canada, that sends teams of volunteers to build homes across the country; and, the Genworth Canada Meaning of Home contest, which has inspired more 45,000 youth over the last decade to learn more about affordable housing issues and Habitat’s mission.

In 2016, Genworth Canada made its largest yearly financial contribution in the history of this partnership and renewed its commitment to Habitat Canada with a further pledge of $1.3 million over the next three years.

Outstanding Foundation:
The Slaight Family Foundation

The Slaight Family Foundation logo

The Slaight Family Foundation has been transformative in their generosity since their establishment in 2008. The Foundation supports organizations at local, national and international levels related to health care, social service, the arts as well as those serving at-risk children and youth.

The Slaight Family Foundation’s philanthropic impact is far reaching and has empowered organizations to create serious change within their communities and has enabled them to improve countless lives.

The Foundation’s innovative approaches to solving local and global challenges has resulted in remarkable giving records: $50M in support of ground breaking initiatives in five Toronto hospitals; $7M to support international development by seven Canadian-based NGOs;  $11M in support of  healthy development for at risk children and youth across Canada by 11 national children and youth based organizations and  $12M  in support of 15 organizations to improve the health and well-being of our  Indigenous communities.

The Foundation has also donated millions to Ryerson, OCAD, Sick Kids, Princess Margaret, Camp Oochigeas, United Way, TIFF, AGO, Massey Hall, The National Ballet and the Shaw Festival as well as supporting many arts and youth based charities and providing scholarships and bursaries for students in need.

From helping create new programs for challenged youth, enhancing the artistic endeavours of our cultural institutions to supporting clean water and sanitation in developing countries, the Foundation positions its philanthropy to alter the status quo for the better.

The Slaight Family Foundation’s remarkable philanthropic endeavours improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities in Toronto, across Canada and around the world.

Outstanding Fundraising Professional:
Ingrid Perry

Perry Ingrid headshot

Ingrid Perry is an extraordinarily talented fundraiser and a selfless leader with a distinguished career in the non-profit health care sector for more than 30 years.

As President & CEO of Mackenzie Health Foundation, Ingrid is leading the Exceptional Care Belongs Here campaign to build and equip Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, Canada’s first smart hospital and enhance care at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. With a $250 million goal, this campaign is the largest fundraising drive led by a community hospital in Canada.

Ingrid’s successful career includes leadership roles at Bridgepoint Health, North York General Hospital and Women’s College Hospital.

Ingrid has always been an indispensable member of the hospitals’ senior leadership teams and Public Relations and Government Relations Task Forces – roles that require a deep understanding of complex health care issues and tremendous political acumen.

Ingrid is a mentor who inspires her team and fundraisers of all ages to work hard for the greater good.  She provides a balance of guidance and freedom that allows her staff to have the experiences required to grow their own careers with confidence.

She is committed to helping shape the lives of future generations.  Many of her volunteer roles are aligned with this goal: Schulich School of Business, Roberta Bondar Foundation and as a faculty member at AHP Madison Institute.

Ingrid is among the finest fundraisers in our industry.  Few can match her integrity, dedication, experience and leadership

Mo Davies Small Organization for Excellence in Fundraising:
Rainbow Railroad

Rainbow Railroad logo

Around the world, approximately 80 countries have anti-homosexuality laws, and many more have other laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQI people are routinely arrested, denied basic human rights, and are being brutally attacked, tortured or even murdered. For these individuals, a plane ticket issued quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

In homage to the Underground Railroad, Rainbow Railroad is a registered charitable organization that provides support to LGBTQI individuals seeking safe haven from state-sponsored or enabled violence. This includes airfare and financial support for travel related costs, including costs immediately before and after travel. Rainbow Railroad is the only organization in the world providing this type of direct assistance.

Beyond direct financial assistance, Rainbow Railroad provides information and resources on how to make an asylum claim directly in safer countries or through the UNHCR resettlement process. Founded in 2006, Rainbow Railroad started as a volunteer run organization In 2012, Rainbow Railroad had raised $25,000 and brought six people to safety. Five years later, Rainbow Railroad has helped over 140 LGTQ people get to safety this year alone, helping a total of over 300 people.

When the Chechnya crisis hit, Rainbow Railroad immediately began working with the Russian LGBT Network to help Chechen LGBTQ people get to safety. Rainbow Railroad has provided the network with $50,000 in crisis funding and agreed to help fund travel support for dozens of Chechens. To date, Rainbow Railroad has provided direct travel assistance for over 40 Chechens and is committed to helping more people.

Rainbow Railroad is both a proud LGBTQI community success and it is also a proud Canadian success.

Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy:
Josh Morrison

Josh Morrison smiling wearing hardhat

At the age of 11, Josh Morrison of Uxbridge, decided to collect 10 million pennies ($100,000) for Habitat for Humanity Durham in order to build a home for a family in his region. Josh’s inspiration for Pennies4Homes came from a visit with his father to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  At the store was a toilet filled with pennies, the charity’s campaign for people to donate the discontinued penny.  Inspired by this, Josh made it his own personal mission to raise enough funds to build a home for a deserving family.

In February 2016, Josh was only a quarter way to reaching his $100,000 goal. “Hard is not a synonym for impossible,” says Josh and determined to achieve this goal, he spread the word through creative fundraising events. As a result, many groups came together to assist Josh in his fundraising goal.  The local community really took hold of helping Josh and towards the end an anonymous group matched donations up to $18,000, just to get him over the top.
After four years of hard work, dedication, and generous support from the residents of Durham, Josh exceeded his goal. The Pennies4Homes Ambassador raised $124,000, which will be used to build a home at Habitat for Humanity Durham’s CentreTowne community in Oshawa.

Josh’s determination and success is a great example of how a philanthropic spirit has no age limit. This young leader has demonstrated that no donation is too small to make serious change happen.

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Jim Hilborn

Jim Hilborn headshot

It would be impossible to find a fundraiser today who has not been touched by the work of Jim Hilborn. Jim’s forty-five years in business and nonprofit services are packed with innovation, leadership and achievement.

Dissatisfied by the Canadian fundraising expertise being ignored, Jim has worked to ensure that Canadian professional best practices are documented and promoted. He launched Canadian FundRaiser newsletter in 1991, co-founded Charity Village two years later, and began publishing sector specific newsletters that gave Canadian fundraising managers a place to listen and learn.

In 2001, Jim launched Canadian FundRaiser eNEWS, an electronic copy of Canadian FundRaiser, and four years later, a newsletter for gift planners, Gift Planning in Canada.  In 2003, through his Key-To-The-Sector division, he began offering over 40 half- and full-day training programs led by top nonprofit sector specialists. By 2007, over 4,000 Canadian non-profit managers had attended a Key-To-The-Sector program.

That year, Jim launched Civil Sector Press, Canada’s first book publisher focused on the nonprofit sector. His company has published close-to 40 books that have been read and implemented by thousands of fundraising professionals.

In 2011, Jim introduced Hilborn Charity eNews, now read weekly by 13,000 fundraisers and NFP specialists, featuring the latest news in fundraising in Canada and around the world.

Jim Hilborn has given voice to people in our country whose knowledge, expertise, and experience deserved a forum. An early catalyst for best practice in the profession, he has stayed dedicated to the advancement of fundraising in Canada for decades