In 2013, during the first year of the MPNL program, Donald K. Johnson launched a new award of $5,000 for an outstanding graduate student entering or continuing in the program — and, recently, he tripled his pledge, supporting three awards in 2023.

“Philanthropy is important in business and life,” says the former Vice-Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns. “I’m passionate about philanthropy and have a deep belief in education.”

“Mr. Johnson’s support was crucial when we launched the program,” explains Dr. Susan Phillips, MPNL Graduate Supervisor. “He attended our first ‘Celebrating Philanthropy’ event (with the Governor General), and co-hosted a luncheon for the new program — and he shared his insights and hopes during a talk, ‘MPNL Critical Conversation: Future for Philanthropy and Canada’s Nonprofit Sector.’

Johnson also serves on the boards of a number of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and campaigns to improve the philanthropic sector in Canada.

“He was instrumental in convincing the Canadian government in 2005 to eliminate the capital gains tax on charitable gifts of listed securities,” Dr. Phillips says. “And, currently, he’s leading a campaign to extend this exemption to donations of private company shares and real estate.”

Johnson says he receives great satisfaction from being able to give back. “Students learn that philanthropy is educational, that it strengthens community,” he says. “Philanthropy helps you to network, and it makes a meaningful difference in life and business.”

“Aside from the monetary value, winning this award will encourage students and others to engage in philanthropy,” he adds.

Hannah Van Hofwegen is this year’s recipient

Last year was one of the hardest years of Hannah Van Hofwegen’s life. This year’s recipient of the Donald K. Johnson Award in Philanthropy survived a house fire, a death in the family and two emergency surgeries. However, she also finished an undergraduate degree in health science and got into her number-one masters choice, the MPNL program.

“I was humbled and deeply grateful when I found out I’d received the award,” she says. “I felt validated in my efforts to pursue a career in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. The year 2021 had been hard, but the award was a push of hope that gave me additional confidence — and it provided financial support for my studies while I was off work because of Covid.”

“While growing up in a small town and going to a Christian private school my passion for serving others became instilled at a young age,” she says. She worked for Casas Por Cristo, an organization that builds homes for families in need, and later worked with Medicine Education and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere (MEDLIFE).

“I just completed the second semester of my MPNL degree, and I’m a Carleton Research Assistant, looking at cross-sector leadership mechanisms,” she says. “After completing my masters, I hope to attend medical school. It’s been my dream to become ‘Dr. Van Hofwegen’ and use my position to serve others.”

Champagne Thomson was last year’s recipient

Last year’s recipient of the Donald K. Johnson Award in Philanthropy was Champagne Thomson, who defines herself as a decolonial, intersectional, harm-reduction feminist dedicated to co-creating a prosperous community-oriented future.

As a practicing social worker and advocate, she completed a Human Rights and Equity Studies degree at York University before joining the MPNL program. She also works with Liisbeth, a feminist, changemaking media outlet that amplifies the stories and voices of those who aren’t highly represented in the mainstream.

Hannah Van Hofwegen is on LinkedIn. Banner photo is courtesy of Mario Gogh.

Monday, January 17, 2022 in ,
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