His father’s insight on philanthropy stays with John Donnelly as he compiles the latest bid to raise cash for a fire-ravaged community.
“Leave the wood pile higher than you found it, that’s what it’s all about,” Donnelly said. “If everybody did that, it would be a whole lot better world.”
It’s why he chooses to help others find their way to give back.
When fires hit Fort McMurray, Alta. in 2016 and the B.C. Interior the next year, he organized fundraisers at the Union Club of B.C. to help communities rebuild. A Victoria resident for more than a decade, he spent much of his life in Kamloops and followed the fire impacts keenly in 2017.
When a fast-moving fire destroyed most of Lytton June 30, it just made sense to return to the Victoria club to host a dinner.
“When this started I figured it’s time to do another one,” Donnelly said.
He called up friend Randy Ambrosie, commissioner for the CFL, who readily agreed to be a speaker as well as provide signed football memorabilia for auction.
The Grey Cup champion played Canadian football professionally as an offensive guard for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, Toronto Argonauts, and Edmonton Eskimos.
During the two-course fundraising dinner Aug. 4, Ambrosie will talk about overcoming adversity drawing from his experiences in professional football as well as the leader of several financial companies over the years.
There are 100 tickets available for $150 each with a tax receipt for $115 from the Canadian Red Cross.
“Anybody who feels compelled to donate, they can buy tickets and donate their tickets to someone,” Donnelly said.
“I like to give them to younger people if I can.”
To purchase, call the Union Club and register for the Donnelly Advisors Group Lytton Fire Dinner. It is open to members and non-members.
The federal and provincial governments have each committed to match donations to the Canadian Red Cross 2021 BC Fires appeal which means that every $1 donated becomes $3 to support those affected by the wildfires.
Canada will match donations made by individuals and corporations since July 3 and for the next 30 days.
The province will match donations made by individuals and corporations between July 3 and Dec. 31 up to $20 million.