York retirees raise funds for graduate student awards

In October, a group of retired York University employees will be participating in the Scotiabank Virtual Charity Challenge, to raise money for graduate student awards at York University.

“Our goal is to raise $115,000 over the next several years in order to build a sufficient endowment to fund the three Graduate Student Awards provided annually by the York University Retirees’ Association,” says Charmaine Courtis, YURA’s co-president (non-academic). “Since joining the YURA Executive, raising funds for student assistance has been my priority. In past years, YURA members have endowed both the William W. Small Award and the YURA Mature Students Award to the extent that two of each of these awards are offered annually to deserving undergraduate students. We now need to focus on assuring something for graduate students in perpetuity.”

To date, YURA has raised $33,000 for this endowment.

Members of the 2019 YURA team at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, raising money for York Graduate Student Awards

Members of the 2019 YURA team at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, raising money for York Graduate Student Awards

“Participating in the Scotiabank Marathon enables YURA to raise considerably more money to support student awards at the University than fundraisers such as our annual Showcase event,” says Ian Greene, YURA’s co-president (academic), who came up with the idea. “If we can recruit 10 to 20 participants for our team and each participant seeks sponsors from family, friends and former York colleagues, then we should be able to raise $15,000 to $20,000 a year, possibly more, to put towards the endowment.”

Among the retiree participants joining Courtis and Greene in this year’s Scotiabank Marathon are Peter Victor, John Lennox, Natasa Bajin, David Dimick, Sheelagh Atkinson, Donna Smith, John Wilson, Ed Lee-Ruff, Frances Wilkinson, Wendy Chan Tang, Fazyah Mohammed and Steve Dranitsaris. To sponsor the YURA team or any of its members in support of York graduate student awards, visit: https://raceroster.com/events/2020/27138/scotiabank-toronto-waterfront-marathon-virtual-race-2020/pledge/team/248988.

Charitable tax receipts are issued for donations of $20 or more.

The Scotiabank Charity Challenge unites the spirit of both competitive and recreational runners and walkers with a unique fundraising program to help create a stronger future for young people and build vibrant communities. Participants register for either a 5 km “half marathon” or a full 10 km marathon. Given the COVID-19 environment, this year’s Charity Challenge will have a different look with participants completing their distance any time, any place between Oct. 1 and 31. The York retirees’ team plans to do it together at High Park on Oct. 6, with physical distancing between participants, of course!

In 2019, more than $3.6 million for 190 community charities was raised through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Across Canada, $8.5 million was raised for 550 charities. Since the Scotiabank Charity Challenge began in 2003, over $78 million has gone directly to charities to create a stronger future for young people and build vibrant communities.

In addition to the seven York University student awards it provides annually, the York University Retirees’ Association also contributes financially each year to the Access to Post-Secondary Middle School Program offered by the York University-TD Community Engagement Centre. YURA members also support the York University Summer Camp Subsidy Program and the YFS Campus Food Bank.

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