2018 Aurora Honouree
Rod and Ian Johnson grew up in the Toronto and Ottawa area, and have worked together at Johnson Financial Group Inc. for many years. Since their youngest brother Hugh passed away from cancer in 2016, Rod and Ian have been driven to further his philanthropic efforts and keep his legacy alive.
With much satisfaction, Ian and Rod reflect on their assistance with the reconstruction of the Aurora United Church (Rod) and the building of the Aurora Chamber office (Ian). These ventures required a significant time commitment and were extremely rewarding projects that were worth every moment.
Their goal has always been to stay closely involved in charitable endeavours on a continual and manageable basis, so their impact can be as lasting as possible. Because time is a finite resource, the Johnson brothers believe it’s important to regularly re-evaluate how it is spent, in order to advance their causes. They frequently stop to reflect, recalibrate, and observe where their participation takes them. This provides a fresh perspective and the ability to refine and repeat the process.
Their immersion in various charitable activities has expanded the tapestry of lives woven together in their life experience; and along with the new people they meet, and their stories, come many unexpected rewards.
To encourage others to get involved, Rod and Ian suggest that providing collaborative linkages that can marry interests with the needs in our community would be a helpful approach to making great things happen. A good example of this is the Neighbourhood Network. Other meaningful ways to engage support include education and engagement via social media, advertising, and local events. In general, they believe that simply asking people to help is key since many, even though they may be willing, don’t know where to start.
Their soft spot for volunteering is centered around youth, and this is where Ian and Rod have accomplished the most. Over the years, they have offered the Johnson Financial Group Education Achievement Scholarships to local high schools. More recently, they have participated in the Covenant House Sleep-out, and have coached kids’ hockey and soccer teams. They’ve enjoyed participating in local hospital events such as The Run or Walk for Southlake, as part of The Hustle for Hugh Team. In addition, the brothers have assisted others in launching the Hugh Johnson Charity Golf Tournament, which has successfully raised money to support MacKenzie’s Hope, an organization dedicated to helping the siblings of kids with cancer.
Rod and Ian are always seeking new opportunities to contribute where they know they can make a significant difference.