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A Legacy of Social Responsibility in York Region

Founder of Portraits of Giving, Karen Merk, LPPOC, PMP, an award-winning York Region photographer, was personally inspired by the many business professionals in our community who donate their time and resources for the benefit of others. They inspired her to start giving back and she wondered how they could inspire others to do the same.  So began the beginning of Merk Photography's Portraits of Giving initiative.


The Honourees are leaders who give back for the right reasons and often do not want to be in a spotlight, but feel honoured to be celebrated. Karen developed the concept for Portrait of Givng 13 years ago and continues to produce and organize the exhibit with a growing team of parnters and committee members. To add another dimension to this exhibit, she invited writers like the IC Publishing team to interview the honourees and tell the stories behind their generous efforts.

Portraits of Giving originally started in three towns: Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket and with positive feedback, encouragement and support, the initiative soon spread across York Region and now travels to all nine municipalities in York Region: Georgina, East Gwillmibury, Newmarket, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville, King Township, Vaughan and Markham.

Ongoing education is something that is very important to Karen and soon additional educational and inspirational elements from the honourees stories were added to the project primarily across social media. Tour receptions continue bringing awareness to the benefits and importance of social responsibility in our community.

Each year we discover even more truly remarkable leaders in our community to honour.

And the list continues. There are many more people to celebrate.

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