Philanthropy in Action Recipients

Previously known as Philanthropist of the Year, the Philanthropy in Action Award honours members of the Greater Fredericton region who have given of their time, talent and financial resources for the well-being of the community and surrounding areas.  

The recipients of the award are residents of the Greater Fredericton Area, and can be nominated at any time throughout the year by any individual, non-profit organization, company or staff/board member of the Fredericton Community Foundation. 

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2010 - Edison and Lois Phillips

Edison & Lois Phillips have been residents of Fredericton for over 60 years.  Edison worked at Hartt Shoe Factory for 39 years and Lois worked for York Steel for 25 years. 

The Phillips have been active in the community for many years and since their retirement, they have been even more involved by donating their time and resources to organizations such as the Chalmers Hospital Auxiliary, Royal Canadian Legion, the Rusagonis Heritage Society and York Manor Nursing Home.  In the past 15 years, they have donated over $200,000 to the Chalmers Foundation alone. 

The Phillips’ involvement in the community goes beyond their work and commitment to organized charities; they also take a personal interest in helping individuals.  Whether it be a senior in need of support, a young neighbour looking for companionship or an international student a long way from family, the Phillips step up to the plate and deliver.

2011 - Bud and Peggy Bird

Mr. Bird has served as co-chair of Your New Y Campaign, which has raised an astonishing total of more than $5 million in community donations to this new building. As well, the Bird family has made a significant financial gift to that campaign. It is in recognition of these contributions that the nomination for this award has been made by the Fredericton YMCA.

For a great many years Bud and Peggy Bird have also been very involved in providing volunteer activities and financial contributions to organizations such as the Miramichi Salmon Association, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the TNB Theatre School. As well, to varying and lesser extents, they have provided support to the New Brunswick Foundation for the Arts, Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Jeunesses Musicales, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the University of New Brunswick and other such worthy causes. The Birds have long been members and supporters of St. Paul’s United Church.

During his business career, Mr. Bird was the founder of J.W. Bird and Company Limited in 1958, with that company having since been sold to its senior managers. He also played a leading role in the establishment of Enbridge Gas New Brunswick in 1999.

As an active politician, he has served as Mayor of Fredericton, as provincial Minister of Natural Resources and as a federal Member of Parliament. In 2001 he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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2012- John Bliss and Dorothy Mcdade

John and Dorothy exemplify philanthropy in action with their commitment to the community. Both John and Dorothy have provided volunteer service on various boards and have held leadership roles on committees of the YMCA, UNB and the Forever Fund of the United Way, just to name a few.

John had a long and honourable career in Engineering having worked for 19 years as the City Engineer. He was instrumental in improving the water quality for the city and his efforts resulted in the naming of the E. John Bliss Water Treatment Plant. John has won numerous awards for his work as both an engineer and as a community leader. He has served both his profession and his community in varying capacities from city councillor to president of the Association of Professional Engineers of New Brunswick.

John and Dorothy have been honoured by UNB with the Associated Alumni Award of Honour. Dorothy is also a Life Member of the New Brunswick Medical Society and the Canadian Medical Society. She currently sits on the Board of Governors of UNB and holds the role of President of the Fredericton Guild of Fiber Artists.

2013 - Fred Bearisto and Tina & Jason Leguene

Fred Beairsto is a humble man with an unassuming demeanor, an altruistic nature and a strong ability to lead. He has served his community for more than five decades in roles too numerous to list. Always giving of his time, talent and treasure, Fred is the embodiment of philanthropy in action.

Fred has been an active volunteer, organizer, mentor and financial supporter of UNB, serving on UNB’s Alumni Council (including a term as President), Board of Governors and Senate. In addition, he served as a director of the New Brunswick SPCA and went on to become the Founding President of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, an organization that began in Fredericton and went on to become one of the world’s leading animal welfare organizations. Recognized with the Order of New Brunswick, he served his Province as the Co-Chair of the New Brunswick “Yes” Campaign for the Charlottetown Accord Referendum and was called upon by Premier Frank McKenna to participate in Dialogue NB.

Jason and Tina LeJeune, owners of Isaac's Way Restaurant, are keen supporters of children's cultural activities, providing substantial financial contributions to several local organizations and schools so that underprivileged children can participate in various artistic programs - creative lessons in music, art, dance and theatre. Additionally, for over a decade they have been supplying meals for 30- 40 individuals per week at the Wilmot United Church Drop-In Centre. Tina and Jason have been actively supporting the Community Action Group on Homelessness with fundraising campaigns such as "The Next 26" and "Let's Get Frank on Homelessness". They also spearheaded the Connaught Street School Living Playground, to create this educational green space for the downtown community.

The LeJeunes literally give hundreds of hours each year to philanthropic activities. Coupled with the kindness and respect that they pay to every member of our community, regardless of position, their actions are a shining example of philanthropy in action.



2014 - Richard and Margie Clark

Richard and Margie Clark have been long-standing and humble contributors to many worthy causes in our community too numerous to list, volunteering their very special talents and countless hours to causes that they also support financially.

For example, Margie and Richard Clark have a long history of service with the YMCA of Fredericton. Margie served as the President of the Operating Board and has further supported the YMCA as a Strong Kids Campaign Supporter,

Heritage Club Member and she has served on numerous committees over the years. Richard served two terms as President of the Operating Board, worked on five capital campaigns (including chairing the “Here’s the Y” Campaign), sat as the President of the Endowment Board, served on the YMCA Canada Board, and also is a Strong Kids Campaign Supporter, Heritage Club Member, and has sat on many other committees.

They have also been very active in The Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation, working with Foundation staff on a variety of fundraising events. Richard chaired the first three 24 Hour Relay fund raisers, and subsequently continued to support the event for many years. Margie has served on several of the Foundation’s gala committees and to this day is an active volunteer working at the desk in the main lobby of the hospital.

2015 - Gordon and Carol Burtt

Gordon and Carol Burtt have a long history of contributing to worthy causes in our community and have taken on significant leadership roles for many of the charities that they also support financially.

Many know of the Coats for Kids program that the Burtts ran for many years, collecting, repairing and cleaning coats that were distributed by the Salvation Army to those in need in our community. More than 10,000 coats were collected and distributed through this program.

Carol Burtt has the well-deserved reputation as Fredericton’s go-to person for fundraising events. She has chaired the Major Gifts Campaign, Special Events Committee, Major Gift Committee, and “Lobster on the Lawn” events for Canadian Red Cross. Carol founded Feast in the Field, which continues to be a successful fundraiser for Ability New Brunswick. For many years, she headed the celebrity auction that benefitted Red Cross and later the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she was the Chair of the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation fundraising dinner honouring Frank McKenna on his retirement, and has chaired events for Fredericton 150, Fredericton Playhouse, York Care Centre, Fredericton Women’s Executive Club, Canadian Diabetes Association, Children’s Wish Foundation, United Way (Forever Fund) and more.

Carol Burtt was honoured with the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award and she also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. In 2007, Carol was awarded the Rotary Club’s highest honour, the Paul Harris Fellow Award.



2016 - Jim Ross & John Wood

Jim Ross has served on committees, associations, and has been a member or director of various community organizations including the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, the NB Paraplegic Association, Fredericton Kinsmen Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Theatre New Brunswick. Appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1990, Mr. Ross served almost three years before resigning his seat to begin the task of building Partners for Youth Inc. 

John Wood was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was four years old, today he is a known leader in his community and an inspiration for those with disabilities. He was the first ever recipient of the Jim Ryan Award for dedication and sportsmanship. He has raised thousands of dollars for The John Wood Foundation, to provide people with significant disabilities funding. The John Wood Foundation has distributed over $120,000 in grants, partnering with the government and other organizations for services valued at over $700,000. 

2017 - David Wilson

Mr. Wilson volunteers in excess of 300 hours per year for various causes. He has served as a board member and chairman of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, United Way, YMCA of Fredericton, Christ Church Cathedral, Miramichi Salmon Association and the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation. 

Mr. Wilson has generously supported many charitable causes in the community through donations or sponsorships, including Junior Achievement, Theatre New Brunswick, United Way, The Playhouse, The Kidney Foundation of Canada and Rotary. He has served his community as a City Councillor, and has been recognized for his contributions to our community through a number of awards. 

During his award dinner in May 2017, David chose to give the $10,000 Philanthropy in Action Grant to The Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation.


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2018 - The Waite family

The Waite Family has been involved with many different organizations through various means, including the use of their hotel, a long-standing family business rooted in Fredericton. The Waite’s have volunteered in excess of over 100 hours a year for a variety of causes in our province, serving as Board members, Coaches, Committee members and Managers.

The Waite Family is consistently providing service to and collaborating with the community, to ensure the long-term success of many community projects. Their most widespread contribution has come from using their hotel as a silent vessel of their philanthropy and good work in the community. For many years, the Waite Family has provided substantial and tangible service at little to no cost to organizations such as The United Way, Miramichi Salmon Association, and the Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation.

John Waite, in particular, is a past recipient of the Dr. Bill MacGillivray Award, for service and commitment in the field of sports and recreation, as well as The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizens Award, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canada.