Ottawa business leaders among honourees at philanthropy awards

Gary Zed’s work and community involvement are guided by common principles: Give back wherever you can to leave the world better than you found it.

The tax market leader and managing partner of accounting firm EY’s Ottawa office has also been described as “a philanthropic fixture on the Ottawa society scene.”

When he’s not assisting major multinationals or high net-worth families, Mr. Zed is often found supporting a wide range of causes in Ottawa, including arts and culture, education, youth and health care, among others. He currently sits on several boards and committees, including the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, National Arts Centre Foundation, Ottawa Senators Foundation and the One Young World advisory board, and he was previously active in the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

In recognition of his community involvement, Mr. Zed will be honoured this week as the 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser at the annual Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Ottawa Philanthropy Awards.

“I am happy to do my small part in making Ottawa a great place to live, work and play,” Mr. Zed told OBJ. “We all have a duty to build strong communities, and that forms the foundation for ‎a strong society and business.”

The sold-out Nov. 17 gala at the Shaw Centre will also recognize realtor Patrick Morris of Morris Home Team as the 2016 Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist.

According to AFP, Mr. Morris is a supporter of the Dovercourt Recreation Centre and, through his company, has also provided sponsorship dollars to several Ottawa charities, including Make-a-Wish Eastern Ontario, Westboro Community Partnership Campaign and the Westboro Youth Centre. Additionally, Mr. Morris is a gold sponsor at the Royal Ottawa Annual Golf Tournament.

Changing landscape

The fundraising sector has “done a 180” over the last 20-odd years as donors have become more savvy, says Sam Tapley, the director of development at Ottawa Carleton Lifeskills, which supports adults with developmental disabilities.

Ms. Tapley, who is also an AFP member and volunteer at this week’s awards evening, says donors want to know more about the specific impact of their contribution, such as how many lives it’s changing.

“We’ve had to become way more accountable – which is a good thing – and adopt a business model (with quantifiable) metrics,” she says.

Ms. Tapley says she’s also seen a rise in donor-directed giving as individuals request that their gift go towards supporting a specific cause.

Years ago, for example, a donor would be content simply writing a cheque to the Ottawa Mission. Nowadays, that same individual might ask that their money go towards, say, a bursary to support someone who’s overcoming drug addiction, Ms. Tapley says.

“It’s a positive evolution and keeps us on our toes,” she says.

Ms. Tapley says the annual awards evening, now in its 22nd edition, is a chance to say thank-you to the many residents for their community contributions.

“Those people, in my mind, make Ottawa what it is known for: A generous community offering a wide range of services and making sure that no one falls through the cracks,” she says.

Other recipients include:

- David Sweanor (Outstanding Individual Philanthropist);

- Scotiabank (Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist);

- Jonathan & Alyssa Chow (Outstanding Youth); and

- Partners Investing in Parkinson Research (Outstanding Philanthropic Group).