Your heart and your mind have always been in synchrony with the natural world. A geology major at St. Lawrence, you have founded several philanthropic foundations whose focus is the ways in which we can work in closer harmony with that world, and with each other.
In 1991, you founded the Sage Foundation, which developed and designed environmental education programs used in more than 300 British Columbia schools; the foundation continues to promote leadership and conservation programs including the Hollyhock Leadership Institute. In that same year, you also founded the Endswell Foundation, which makes grants to grass-roots environmental conservation issues, leadership development and capacity-building in British Columbia. That foundation has helped start and support the Tides Canada Foundation, which has awarded grants of more than $36 million to develop funding for environmental sustainability and social change. In 1994, you co-founded Renewal Partners Company, which provides seed capital investments and networking to fledgling businesses promoting a sustainable economy.
Your organizations have played instrumental roles in several significant environmental initiatives, including the successful preservation of the Tatsenshini – Alsek Park, which became the final part of a bi-national UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest, a 21-million-acre coastal temperate rainforest in British Columbia. You have placed over $60 million in organizations, individuals and businesses that are working on sustainable economic development and social justice throughout Canada, and encouraged others to apply their resources toward social change.
In recognition of your pioneering charitable work and social investing, you were accorded one of Canada’s highest honors in 2007, when you were appointed a member of the Order of Canada. Also in 2007, you were named a recipient of the inaugural award for BC Women from the Minerva Foundation.
St. Lawrence has recently made environmental sustainability one of its core principles. For your descant voice in the chorus of humanity, a voice singing the songs of Mother Earth, your alma mater is proud to award you the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.