By Taylor Fong
The Community Hero of the Game wasawarded to the head of the Algonquin College Foundation Brenda Rothwell at the Ottawa Senator’s Jan. 2nd home game for her work with the foundation and the Ottawa Mission.
The project is sponsored by the college in partnership with the Ottawa Senators. The webpage describes a Hero of the Game as an individual who “makes a significant difference in their community through their personal contributions of time, talent and hands-on volunteering.”
The small committee managing the award will reach out to groups like alumni or the presidential council and ask them to submit names for nomination. Names can also be submitted through the webpage.
“It’s about highlighting the success of the college community,” said Phil Gaudreau, communications officer and head of the award’s committee. “A hero can be alumni or staff. An example of this could be someone who had attended the college, and then used the skills they learned to give back.”
Rothwell was chosen from within the committee.
“Brenda helped co-find the foundation, which has helped raise millions of dollars in bursaries. She has also helped the Mission raise money for countless new beds,” said Gaudreau.
Former Algonquin president Robert Gillett had invited Brenda to come start the foundation 10 years ago while she was the Major Gifts-Capital Campaign Director for the Queensway-Carleton Hospital Foundation.
The Algonquin foundation fundraises for bursaries, scholarships, equipment and facilities for the college. It also facilitates the receiving of major gifts. Some recurring events they run include a staff lottery and the Algonquin College Bursary Golf Tournament.
Currently, the foundation is formulating a business plan to simplify the connections of alumni with other alumni and current students.
Brenda also serves as a member on the Ottawa Mission Board of Directors, where they are now working on a five-year strategy plan. She said the Mission’s new goals are to answer the question of how to get a user or former-user into independent housing.
The Mission housed an average of 228 men a night and served around 1270 meals per-day last year.
“Brenda brings a great balance to our board table with her background and fundraising and wealth of connections,” said Peter Tilley, executive director of the Ottawa Mission.
“She’s also extremely encouraging” he emphasized. “After all of our board meetings she will send a note to me and all the staff saying ‘Great job today, guys!’”
In 1990, Brenda graduated from Algonquin’s public relations program. She spends a significant amount of her time fundraising, which attributes to always having a volunteer mindset. “I believe in philanthropy,” she said. “Philanthropy is making the world a better place.”