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Three awards presented at National Philanthropy Day lunch

Event in Abbotsford honours those who have made a difference

The Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF) presented awards in three categories at the 10th annual National Philanthropy Day lunch on Nov. 16.

The socially distanced event, held at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre, featured Angus Reid as keynote speaker. Reid is a three-time all-star, two-time Grey Cup champion and five-time BC Lions team captain.

He focused on the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude” and shared personal stories acknowledging the coaches and mentors who were influential in his rise to success.

Reid’s first book, Thank You Coach, has been an Amazon best-seller.

Community grants chair Denise Thandi said a record number of nominations were received for the awards this year.

“The number of organizations and individuals in our community that believe in giving back is inspiring,” she said.

Recipients each received $500 to donate to the charity of their choice.

The Alan and Vivian Trethewey Youth Philanthropy Award – established to honour the couple for their leadership in the creation of the ACF in 1979 – was presented to Mia Gill.

Gill has been giving back to the community for the last six years, volunteering more than 1,000 hours of her time.

She dedicates herself to raising awareness about important causes, including the creation of a support group for youth struggling with mental-health issues.

Gill has raised more than $5,000 for Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s pediatric unit. She was also a recipient of a Rising Youth Canadian Service Corps grant, which she used to purchase skin-tone-inclusive art supplies for local schools to promote multicultural art education to kids.

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Gill, a Grade 11 student at Abbotsford Senior Secondary, was her school’s top academic student in 2018.

The Business Philanthropy Award, sponsored by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce, was presented to Clearbrook Iron Works. Owner Alvin Unger accepted the award on behalf of the company.

Since 2012, Clearbrook Iron Works has donated more than $305,000 to the Crystal Gala Foundation, which includes, on top of their donation, matching any funds raised by employees, friends and suppliers.

In 2019, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary and invited the public to donate to the Crystal Gala Foundation, which supports breast-cancer research, equipment and programs.

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Clearbrook Iron Works is also a generous supporter of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by Assante Wealth Management, was presented to Lorissa Arndt, who has been involved in volunteering for the past 15 years.

She is passionate about helping at-risk youth and those facing addiction, and uses her creativity to showcase the arts while helping those in need.

Arndt’s works has supported charities such as the Salvation Army, the Starfish Backpack Program, ACF, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and SARA for Women.

She was also entertainment chair for the 2016 BC Summer Games and participated in Love Our Bodies/Love Ourselves, Abbotsford Community Services, Communitas Supportive Care and Abbotsford Restorative Justice.

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Former BC Lion Angus Reid was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual National Philanthropy Day lunch in Abbotsford on Nov. 16.
Mia Gill accepts the Youth Philanthropy Award from Wendy Neufeld, executive director of the Abbotsford Community Foundation. (Submitted photo)
Alvin Unger, owner of Clearbrook Iron Works, accepts the Business Philanthropy Award, from Katerina Anastasiadis, executive director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford News Staff

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