A former Netflix executive and the regional manager for London Drugs hope people follow their lead, donating to charitable organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly Bennett, retired Netflix chief marketing officer, is donating a $30,000 appearance fee from London Drugs from a November speaking engagement, with brother Shane Bennett, London Drugs’ district manager for Vancouver Island and B.C. interior, helping to facilitate. The brothers grew up in Nanaimo and Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation and Nanaimo Child Development Centre will benefit with $15,000 apiece.
Shane said it is a way for he and his brother to pay back the community that offered them so much in their formative years.
“We have the capability to give back, so we felt this was very important for two brothers to give back to the community that we grew up in … We knew a lot of our friends had used programs such as these that helped them every single day and certainly, we didn’t grow up with a lot ourselves and we have the means to give back, so we’re happy to do so,” said Shane.
With the pandemic, officials from both the foundation and development centre say they have been hamstrung in terms of fundraising abilities and welcome the money.
Crystal Dennison, Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation executive director, said the donation will assist with meals for vulnerable students.
“The Food4Schools program, we are able to source, purchase, sort and distribute food directly to schools for their school-based meals programs,” said Dennison. “So basically … kind of like what we were doing in the summer with the hamper program, we access food. It’s the same model, but what we’re doing is bringing food into all of the schools that are providing school lunches, breakfasts and snack programs.”
Kathy Shaw, child development centre resource development officer, said cancellation of the 2020 Silly Boat Regatta, a major fundraising money source, was not good and the money and will go towards purchasing equipment.
“We deal with all children with developmental issues, so the specialized equipment varies all the way across the board,” said Shaw.
Previous donations were used on items such as a lift in the centre’s gym, Shaw said.
Shane said generosity is something he learned while growing up and encourages Nanaimo residents to exercise it.
“We both played very competitive sports and we learned very quickly that you’re only as good as the people around you,” said Shane. “That means sometimes giving back and doing things that are not always easy, but it’s very important. A strong community is important and it made us stronger individuals and people were certainly generous to us, with their time or other means to help both Kelly and I.
“We’re very proud to grow up in Nanaimo … Even though we don’t live here anymore, our family still lives here in the community. It’s important to give back.”
To donate to Nanaimo Child Development Centre, contact Shaw at 250-753-0251, extension 227, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation, go to www.nlsf.ca.