York University Foundation leader honoured for outstanding work

“This luncheon recognizes those individuals who have done, and continue to do, so much to improve the quality of life in our communities, our towns and our cities across the country,” Citytv news anchor Gord Martineau told a crowd of over 1,000 members of the not-for-profit sector at the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon given by the Toronto chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The annual awards ceremony, which took place at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto on Nov. 15, honoured individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to helping others. As the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award, Paul Marcus, president and CEO of the York University Foundation, joined five other distinguished honourees in the traditional bagpipe-led procession to the podium as the crowd clapped in unison.

The awards were presented by Yves Gadler, president of AFP Toronto Chapter, and York alumnus Andrew Auerbach (BA ’88), regional vice-president and managing director, Greater Toronto Area, BMO Harris Private Banking, awards sponsor. 

Left: Paul Marcus (centre) receives award from Yves Gadler (left) and Andrew Auerbach  

Martineau described Marcus as a leader who inspires others to give their very best. A video presentation, prepared by AFP, detailed the success of the York community in the past four years, and the fact that the University has doubled its fundraising revenue and experienced a 63 per cent increase in donors. With the support of so many caring individuals and organizations, the “York to the Power of 50” fundraising campaign, which recently launched, has already achieved more than half of its $200 million goal with 13 new gifts of $1 million committed to York in the last 28 months. 

Marcus’ achievements in the not-for-profit sector extend beyond York to past roles he has held as senior vice-president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation and director of development at United Jewish Appeal Federation. The award also acknowledges Marcus’ promotion of the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice, his support of charitable organizations and his outstanding commitment to the fundraising profession through his participation on local, national and international volunteer committees and boards and as a presenter at conferences. 

Right: Paul Marcus with members of his team, Cathy Yanosik (left) and Susan Mullin 

Seated at tables close to the stage was a vocal cheering section that included members of Marcus’s family and the York University community, including President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, Foundation directors and colleagues, and York supporters.   

Marcus took to the podium after the video presentation, in which he thanked his family, volunteers and donors, and colleagues for their support. He reflected optimistically on the future of philanthropy, citing the expected $1-trillion transfer of wealth in the next 20 years in Canada, the unprecedented multi-billion-dollar charitable endowments recently established by leading American philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, and the response to global causes like AIDS, tsunami relief in Asia and hurricane recovery in the US. 

“We have demonstrated like never before that all of us can perform philanthropic acts without great wealth,” said Marcus. “The trends of giving are too encouraging and there is too much momentum to not believe that we have entered a golden age of philanthropy.” 

Right: Paul Marcus with wife Pearl and daughters Michelle (second from left) and Jaclyn 

Marcus also congratulated his fellow award winners, who included: 

  • Margaret McCain – Outstanding Philanthropist
  • Sally Horsfall Eaton and John Craig Eaton – Outstanding Volunteers
  • Great West Life, Canada Life and London Life – Outstanding Corporation
  • Harbinger Foundation – Outstanding Foundation
  • Jenna Lambert – Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy 

“It is the distinguished honourees today that are demonstrating the type of leadership that truly defines a profession,” said Marcus. 

AFP International, the world’s largest fundraising organization, is also presenting Marcus with the prestigious Community Counselling Service (CCS) Award for Outstanding Professional. He is only the second Canadian to receive this award, to be presented in March.

This story was submitted to YFile by Carrie Brodi, communications officer for the York University Foundation