In 2021, Dr. Sharilyn Hale established a student award in honour of her mentor, colleague and friend, Simone Joyaux, who had a passion for advanced learning and was committed to governance excellence and social justice principles in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

Donate to this Memorial Award here

The Simone Joyaux Memorial Award is for graduate students in the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) program. It’s awarded annually by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs on the recommendation of the Director of the MPNL Program, and is available to outstanding graduate students who are registered part-time in the MPNL program. Click here to donate to the award.

What’s the purpose of the award?Read Sharilyn Hale's article "Do better philanthropists lead to better philanthropy?" Hale is a professional philanthropic advisor and President of Watermark Philanthropic Counsel and writes: "Generous Canadians want help in giving well, not just with the tax and structural aspects of charitable gifts, but with larger issues of purpose, family participation, and responsible and informed giving."

Hale: Simone loved Canada and Canadians, and the MPNL program at Carleton is exactly the kind of learning experience she advocated for and saw value in. This award is for part-time students in particular, who are studying while juggling full-time employment and possibly family responsibilities. I know from experience how difficult that can be, yet how beneficial it is when theory informs practice — and practice has an opportunity to shape theory.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear” is how I reflect on Simone. I was in my twenties when we first met and I was ready. As my professor, and later, graduate thesis advisor, she was instrumental in shaping how I viewed my work, my profession and my role in it. Later, she was my colleague, mentor and happily, always a friend. After her death in 2021, I felt compelled to do something — to honour how much she gave me, but also to highlight her legacy to the fundraising profession and nonprofit communities globally. I hope students in the MPNL program experience the joy of learning from someone like Simone, someone who marks their paths in such a beautiful way.

What was Simone’s influence and legacy?

Ellen Doty is the first recipient of the Simone Joyaux Memorial Award. Doty is a jazz singer-songwriter, arts programmer and fundraising expert — and is in the MPNL program.

Hale: She constantly searched for knowledge in all its forms. She was passionate about advanced education and fundraising research, drawing on learnings from other fields, such as leadership studies, organizational development and behavioural sciences. She was also instrumental in fundraising’s shift to being viewed as a profession in its own right, with a body of knowledge and voluntary standards. To advance this, she was a strong proponent of having an independent fundraising credential and was the founding Chair of CFRE International.

From the beginning, social justice principles were at the heart of Simone’s work. She held up a mirror to fundraisers, leaders and boards, imploring them to explore their biases and to be inclusive in our practices, language and thinking. She acknowledged all the advantages she had as a white, educated, heterosexual woman, and then used those advantages to help make things better for all.

And she was a practitioner in that she actively raised funds and served on boards. She was also a skilled consultant and facilitator, enabling individuals and groups involved in fundraising and board governance to do better. But perhaps more importantly, she was a thought leader, as she motivated people to think, reflect and to dialogue — and she initiated important conversations within the wider fundraising profession. For many people, she opened up new ways of understanding, practicing and behaving, and now, through her books and freely offered resources on her website, her influence will be felt for some time to come.

What was her influence on board governance?

Hale: Simone was way ahead of the current emphasis on good governance across all sectors, as she always felt nonprofit organizations deserved better boards – and that honorary, disengaged or hyper-engaged boards didn’t serve nonprofit missions very well. In 2014, she wrote a book many of us wished we’d written: “Firing Lousy Board Members: And Helping the Others Succeed.” The charitable sector has a history of inviting well-intentioned people onto boards, sometimes for the wrong reasons, not supporting them, and then silently tolerating poor behaviour and performance for fear of insulting them or damaging an important organizational relationship. As a former fundraiser, I can say that the profession has at times been complicit in this approach. Always put mission first: that was Simone’s strong view, and she showed how to build vibrant boards and strong cultures of philanthropy, worthy of the common good.

How did she advance education in philanthropy?

Hale: For many years, Simone was on faculty in the Masters in Philanthropy & Development program at Saint Mary’s University, in Minnesota, where she contributed to the formation and professional development of hundreds of fundraisers and nonprofit leaders, including me. At that time, there were no such programs in Canada, so many Canadians went to Saint Mary’s. Years later, Canada Advancing Philanthropy, a group of mostly Saint Mary’s alumni, collaborated to establish a graduate degree program in Canada — which eventually emerged as the MPNL program at Carleton University. My involvement in that endeavor was a result of Simone’s influence on me, and I value my ongoing engagement on the Advisory Council. She was also Chair of the Advisory Board at the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, at Plymouth University, in the UK.

To support the award, please donate to

To apply for Simone Joyaux Memorial Award, a graduate student registered in the MPNL program must ensure they meet eligibility requirements and submit a one-page statement that indicates ways in which they’ve demonstrated leadership in the sector (as a critical thinker, change-maker and/or bridge-builder). Preference will be given to a student in financial need.

Dr. Sharilyn Hale helps those who give, give well. She’s a member of the Advisory Council for the MPNL program and President of Watermark Philanthropic Counsel. Drawing on expertise in philanthropic strategy, family engagement, organizational development, and governance, Hale enables philanthropists and their families to unearth and achieve their philanthropic goals, and helps social-purpose organizations deepen their performance. Join Hale on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Sunday, November 14, 2021 in ,
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