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Posted November 8, 2013

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Philanthropy - Video

Sixth Annual National Philanthropy Day honours The Menich Family

Rob Donelson, Vice President, Development & Alumni Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University recognized as Outstanding Fundraising Professional

Burlington - Can someone really change the world with a giving heart? According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), people can through the giving of one’s time, talent or treasure.

To prove it, on November 15 at Burlington Convention Centre, six philanthropists and organizations from the AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter region will be recognized for their commitment to supporting and inspiring philanthropy in their communities through the sixth Annual National Philanthropy Day awards presentation. Two winners are from the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

“I am pleased to report that late last November, the Government of Canada’s National Philanthropy Day Act officially proclaimed November 15 as National Philanthropy Day. Of note, we are the first country in the world to permanently recognize National Philanthropy Day every year as an official day of celebration. This is in recognition of the role of philanthropy in building strong communities, promoting civic engagement and improving the lives of Canadians through the work of caring individuals and charitable organizations,” says Julie Wirtanen, CFRE, president of the AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter. “And we are part of something much broader; this year, more than 100 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in National Philanthropy Day events and celebrations. I extend congratulations to all the award winners.“

Outstanding Philanthropists – The Menich Family

Nominated By: Erin Sargeant Greenwood, associate vice-president, development at the University of Waterloo

The Menich Family

In 2004 the Menich Family created the Menich Family Loaned Student Representative Program with the intention to enable University of Waterloo students with a work-term experience that directly assists local neighbours in need while teaching students social, fiscal and ethical issues and to inspire in them social responsibility to improve human well-being in local, national and global communities. To date the Loaned Student Representative Program has financed twenty-one co-op students inspiring them to help others.

In addition to this programme, Steve and Eve Menich have proven themselves as outstanding philanthropists and community leaders in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for more than 50 years. The impact of their generosity can be felt by organizations such as the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo, the University of Waterloo; the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, St. Mary's General Hospital Foundation and the KidsAbility Foundation, to name a few.

Together the Family’s unassuming and unfailing philanthropy has touched countless lives and will continue to have uplifting influence on the University of Waterloo and its students, the Kitchener-Waterloo and area United Way, and community services locally, nationally and world-wide.

Erin Sargeant Greenwood from the University of Waterloo noted: “For decades the Menich Family has demonstrated outstanding philanthropic leadership in our region. Their support has been transformative not only because of its direct financial impact, but also due to its effect of inspiring others to give generously, one of the factors that makes the family so worthy of this special award.”

Outstanding Fundraising Professional

Rob Donelson, Vice President, Development & Alumni Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University
Nominated By: Jan Graves


For over 30 years, Rob Donelson has been making the impossible happen, building relationships and motivating staff to aim higher. Prior to joining Wilfrid Laurier University, Rob led multi-million dollar campaigns for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation in Hamilton, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and he also held senior roles at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo.

Rob has been an AFP member since 2005, and his high standard of integrity, collaboration and professionalism allows him to provide leadership to our profession. He is a Board Member of the Ethical Code Committee for Imagine Canada and has blazed a trail in leading a number of his organizations to receive the Ethical Fundraising License, while ensuring Wilfrid Laurier University became one of only two universities in Canada to be accepted into the Ethical Code Program of Imagine Canada. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) as well, and has spoken at national and international conferences for CAGP, CCAE and AHP.

He is a consummate professional and does not ask anyone to do anything he is not prepared to do.

National Philanthropy Day is set aside to recognize, and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy - and those people active in the philanthropic community - have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

Each year, AFP honours individuals and groups who, through their hard work and dedication, have enhanced and inspired philanthropy locally and around the globe.


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