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SEEN UP NORTH – Giving back

Tony Best

SEEN UP NORTH – Giving back

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Time was when making sizeable charitable donations and engaging in volunteer activity were considered the almost exclusive preserve of affluent people described as the idle rich.
Not anymore. Philanthropy and volunteerism have been liberalized.
For Barbadian organizations in Canada, indeed, Bajan groups whose members are either hardworking professionals, struggling but eager young students or recently retired executives, have been giving so much of their financial resources and time in recent years that a mere mention of their names would spawn an image of caring souls committed to their birthplace’s further development.
One such body is the Barbados Ball Canada Aid whose mission is: “to support initiatives in health care and the education of our youth in Canada and Barbados; and to enhance in Canada, the awareness and understanding of Barbados, its people, history, culture and traditions”.
“Our goal is to assist our country, the place which has given us so much and which we love dearly and are committed to its further advancement,” Dr Barbara Trieloff-Deane, the association’s president, told the SUNDAY SUN.
“We have identified health and education as prime areas of focus and our partners within our own tight Barbadian community but we need to expand our frontiers among the friends and lovers of Barbados.
“We are indebted to Dr Leroy McLean, the Consul-General in the city who has been tremendous. We are also assisted by Invest Barbados and the Tourism Authority. We have a very strong synergy.”
The association measures its success in specific, tangible ways. It has made health care contributions of CAN$47 500 in the past three years to Barbados, awarded almost CAN$60 000 in scholarships to Bajan students and intends to give CAN$50 000 in equipment to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), including a dialysis machine, and several scholarships to more students this year.
It donated a dialysis machine and chairs in 2010. By the end of this year, it would have given about CAN$155 000 in scholarships and equipment to individuals and institutions in a four-year period.
The body also made a CAN$10 000 donation to the University of the West Indies Foundation two years ago.
“Education is vital to our national and regional growth and we see our contributions in that area and to the health care system as being extremely important,” said Trieloff-Deane, who also serves as director of training programmes at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto.
“We work closely with the QEH to ensure that our activities are in sync with the hospital’s. This year, we wish to donate another dialysis machine and some chairs to the QEH.”
Sherise Inniss-Hall, a scholarship recipient, hailed the organization’s generosity.
“The scholarship opened up opportunities which I never thought possible,” said the Bajan, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business at Griffith University in Australia.
“Due to the drive and determination given to me by Charity Ball scholarship, I was able to obtain academic athletic scholarships from my college.”
The Bajan philanthropic institution raises funds by staging an entertaining and classy annual Charity Ball, which is being held this year at the International Toronto Congress Centre,  on June 11.
Evelyn Greaves, Barbados’ High Commissioner in Ottawa, is to be the patron, and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, the keynote speaker.
About 600 people are expected to attend and enjoy a sumptuous meal consisting of various Barbadian dishes whose preparation would be overseen by Peter Edey, the renowned Bajan chef.
The music is to be provided Roger Gibbs and the Tuk ensemble, Marisa Lindsey and Eddie Bullen, and Susan G and New Jenerashun.
A highlight of the evening’ will be the presentation of the Barbados Charity Ball award to Keith Forde, a Barbadian who retired last year as Toronto’s deputy police chief, the highest rank ever achieved by a black officer. He served for almost 40 years, 20 in a leadership role.