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Dedicated support for United Way, Queen’s

When John Weatherall looks at the needs of a community today, what he sees as vitally important is a sense of closeness.

Unfortunately, he points out, that closeness is sorely missing in most communities.

John and Diana Weatherall are long-time supporters of both Queen’s University and the Kingston community. (Supplied photo)

However, one of the ways he personally is trying to make a difference is through his participation with the United Way of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington.

While he has long supported the United Way in a number of ways, John is currently heading up the Leadership Challenge Grant, which is aimed at encouraging ‘Leadership’ level donations of $1,200 or more during the annual fundraising campaign. This is the second year that John and his wife Diana have given the Leadership Challenge Grant.

John often speaks of issues on a global scale, yet he remains very connected to local matters. It is something that he inherited from his father while growing up in England. 

“My father was always involved in local things – school boards, local politics, planning boards,” he says, adding that, as a result of his father’s influence, he “feels a kind of duty” to help others in the community.

He sees the United Way as an important vehicle for making such a difference as it supports a wide range of local initiatives providing much-needed support to the community. The efforts help bind the community together.

“I do believe very much that the community has to be close and the community is getting less close,” he says.

John is a trained engineer who has worked in the investment industry for over 50 years.  He is currently running his own investment firm after retiring as a director from Toronto Dominion Bank in 1995.

Much of his work is aimed at bringing people together once again. A key to this is mentorship, the sharing of knowledge among people with similar interests. By having role models and opportunities to be in programs local youth can have something they can be proud of and build self-esteem. 

It’s also a role he plays through the Leadership Grant Challenge.

“Connections are important,” he says.

John points out that the world, Canada included, has undergone significant and difficult changes in recent decades. The subsequent results include the separation of communities, a decline in values and growing youth unemployment.

But, through local efforts, change can still be made with the proper support such as that found through the United Way.

“You look at what you are able to give and you find out what is important and you do that,” he says. “That’s part of being in a community.”

John first arrived in Kingston in the 1950s when he worked for Alcan, coming from England and creating a kind of second home. During his time here he also fostered some close connections with Queen’s, including befriending Principal William Mackintosh.

John continues to help Queen’s by supporting the Office of Advancement in its effort to raise funds for the university and its students.

He also supports the university directly through the Scarthingmoor Prize in Economics, which he established in 2006. The award is handed out annually to a student whose Master’s essay received a mark of at least 85%. 

Also, in recognition of his work, Queen’s offers the John Weatherall Visiting Scholar Fund in Economics, funded by a gift from the Jim Pattison Foundation. The fund provides resources for the Department of Economics to invite top-flight economists from other institutions, especially leading scholars from outside of Canada, to visit Queen's for variable periods of time of one week or more.

The United Way Campaign at Queen's has set a goal to raise $300,000. The United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington funds agencies that help 75,000 people locally each year, including 13,775 school students who were provided nutritious food to help them learn better at school, 1,810 children and youth who were healthy, active and safe by participating in afterschool activities, 250 seniors who were dealing with elder abuse issues found a new sense of safety, and 1,705 people found a place to call home with emergency, transitional or affordable permanent housing.

Donations can be made online at https://andarweb.unitedwaykfla.ca/quregistration through payroll deduction or credit card. If you would prefer to make your gift by cheque or cash, pick up a form at the Human Resources reception desk in Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing or request, through the online system, a form to be sent to you. You have the option to make a one-time gift or, back by popular demand, choose to have your pledge automatically renewed each year. For any questions, send an email to queensunitedway@queensu.ca.