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PORTRAITS OF GIVING: A Legacy of Social Responsibility in York Region

"York Region is a better community because of Portraits of Giving."

Former York Regional Police Deputy Chief / Current OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique 

“I am honoured to congratulate two deserving recipients of the Portraits of Giving initiative, Joanne Witt and Kishon Mahen. Thank you for your dedication to our community and I wish you both success in your future endeavours.”

Dave Barrow

Mayor, City of Richmond Hill


“Through the lens of her camera, Karen Merk and the Portraits of Giving project beautifully capture the spirit of generosity that exists throughout Vaughan and across York Region. This ongoing exhibit is an opportunity to celebrate our local leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life in our community. Their contributions are making a positive and lasting difference in Vaughan and beyond.”

Maurizio Bevilacqua

Mayor, City of Vaughan


“As the Mayor of Markham, I would like to congratulate all the 2020 Honourees for making a difference, for your generosity and strong community spirit. Thank you for being an integral part of our community and for inspiring us to give back to our communities.”

Frank Scarpitti

Mayor, City of Markham


“On behalf of the Township of King, congratulations Winnie Scott on being selected to be part of the Portraits of Giving Exhibit. Thank you for giving back to your community and congratulations to all of the worthy recipients.”
Steve Pellegrini CMO, PMP
Mayor, Township of King


“The spirit of generosity is strong in Stouffville and Dolores Trentadue and Sonya Torres are great examples of that. Always supportive of community and philanthropic initiatives but also incredibly generous with their support of other local businesses. Congratulations Dolores & Sonya, so proud to know you both.”

Iain Lovatt

Mayor, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville


"Thank you to the Honourees for your outstanding work and contributions. The Town of Aurora wishes you much continued success!"

Tom Mrakas

Mayor, Town of Aurora


“Congratulations to Julianne Goyette and all of the Honourees for being recognized by Portraits of Giving for your generous spirit.  Your contributions to our community have been felt by many people and your passion for helping people and making our community stronger is now permanently recognized in this Portraits of Giving Exhibit book. As Mayor of Newmarket I want to thank you for your passion, your time and your commitment. Bravo!”

John Taylor

Mayor, Town of Newmarket


“The Town of East Gwillimbury Council joins me in congratulating all of the 2020 Portrait of Giving Honourees. Thank you for dedicating your time for the betterment of our communities.”

Virginia Hackson

Mayor, Town of East Gwillimbury


“On behalf of Town of Georgina Council, I would like to offer our sincere congratulations to all of this year’s Portraits of Giving recipients.  We are extremely proud of the work all of you do and the contributions that you make.  All of our communities benefit from your efforts and you are to be commended for it.  Thank you to you all!”

Margaret Quirk

Mayor, Town of Georgina

"Tonight we celebrated the contributions of our Local Heroes and their commitment to our community at Portraits of Giving. A huge thank you to Robert Horst, Marc Neeb, Jackie Playter, Maria Racco and Tim Jones for making Newmarket even better. Thanks also to the many generous sponsors."

Tony Van Bynen

Thanks for all your hard work Karen.  I see how much effort you put in to ensure these tributes make it all around York Region.  Any event that helps to promote giving back, and helps to bring people together is a success.  We accomplished that yesterday.  Thanks for the honour, and the opportunity.


Best regards to all the efforts for all of you on this list.  Thank you.


Janine Purves, CFP®, CPCA, CCS                               

Senior Financial Advisor                                                                          

Assante Capital Management Ltd.

"Karen's Portraits of Giving is a testament to those individuals who tirelessly give back to the community in many special ways. The Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support and participate in the Portraits of Giving by nominating those individuals who selflessly contribute to the betterment of the Richmond Hill community. Always working behind the scenes Portraits of Giving through its exhibit introduces these individuals to the community."

Elio Furlan
Executive Director - Richmond Hill Board of Trade

"Portraits of Giving inspires us by celebrating and honouring some of the meaningful contributions of our members who give back to our community. Karen's Portraits recognize business leaders that make us proud! We applaud your efforts!"

Brian Shifman
President & CEO - Vaughan Chamber of Commerce

"Our three years of being the beneficiary of the Portraits of Giving exhibit was an amazing experience that helped to raise our profile in the community, as well as supporting our Slap Shot Newcomer and Low Income Hockey Program. We are most appreciative of the over $20,000 raised by Karen Merk and her team toward the work we do to engage individuals and organizations in positive character development.!"

Karen Addison, Executive Director, Character Community Foundation of York Region


"The Portraits of Giving at Upper Canada Mall looked like a huge Success - congratulations and thank you for all you do."

Morag Wilcox — York Professional Pet Sitting

"Karen! Thank you for making me a part of this - it was awesome and I am forever grateful!"

John Amendola — SNAP Vaughan East, Woodbridge

"Thanks for all of the work you did to make this happen last night. You must feel good as to how it all came together. The display looked amazing."

Marj Andre — On Richmond Hill

"Thank you and well done. Great night indeed"

Rob Clark — RC Design

"What a terrific night!"

Mike Smith — Smith Financial

"You were super last night. Loved your speech and your photos were very impressive. What a lovely event!"

Ellen Cameron

"Amazing job! it was a thrill to go! So happy for you, you talented folks."

Kathleen Redmond

"Great to hear from you and it was so lovely to finally meet you. Your photographs were beautiful and the public really seemed to enjoy your concept and the event."

Marion Morris — Idea Workshop

"What a wonderful event. Kudos to all."

Kathy Constable

"What an honour to be among such amazing community representatives! Thanks to POG & UCM for the opportunity!"

Tim Jones

"Thanks guys. I am so honored by this... really... I have no words."

Maria Racco

"I went to the Mall just to see it. Congratulations!"

Zoe Clements

"We are ALL so blessed to have these phenomenal community leaders in our midst... making our area a fabulous place to live! Thank you for all that you do!"

Kathy Elliott Proudfoot

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