Why Ian Telfer and Nancy Burke give back

Ian Telfer and Nancy Burke | BCBusiness

A conversation with Ian Telfer, chair of Goldcorp Inc., and Nancy Burke, honorary director of Lions Gate Hospital Foundation Board

Just as Ian believes in “returning the favour” to his alma mater in Ottawa, his and Nancy’s motives for giving in general through their Fernwood Foundation follow a similar philosophy.

In 2007, donated $25 million to University of Ottawa’s business school, where Ian studied for his MBA; Nancy chaired the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival Bacchanalia Gala 2007-08; in 2007, also established Fernwood Foundation, which gives to various causes including the Adoptive Families Association of B.C., the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, and West Vancouver’s Collingwood School, to which they gave $1 million (split between 2009 and 2013).

“One of the reasons we donate is that we’ve been very fortunate to be in a position that we are able to donate and help out a little bit,” he says. “The country, the province, the community have been very good to us, so we feel it’s all part of the process to give something back. We believe in being visible in the community because I think it does encourage other people to be philanthropic, and that’s very important.”

Nancy agrees, while also saluting the many volunteers they’ve been involved with at the hospital, school and theatre. “They really put in the hours,” she says. “It’s important to point out that it’s not all about just giving a donation; many people are heavily involved in the volunteering aspect in B.C.”

This is the sixth in a series profiling eight local powerhouse philanthropic duos. Stay tuned.