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Rob Clark

2011 Newmarket


Rob Clark, owner of RC Design and part owner of SNAP Aurora, is a self-effacing, warm individual who gives back to the community in this same understated way. A new father of two step children, and a baby boy born in May of 2011, Rob and RC Design are actively involved in community initiatives that stretch from York Region to orphaned children in Kigali, Rwanda.


A Newmarket native, Rob started RC Design in his parent’s basement 14 years ago. Now it is a thriving communications and design firm that “takes an innovative approach to creativity using the best that talent and technology offers.” [1]


Rob’s roots go back to his paternal grandparents, who settled in Keswick after emigrating with Rob’s father and uncle from Scotland in early 1950’s. His grandfather founded Keswick Electric & Plumbing. Rob’s parents have lived in Newmarket since 1971. His father was a teacher and administrator for the Board of Education, and his mother a long time nurse who branched out into real-estate. Rob attributes his generous attitude to his family. “I am what I am because of my family. My mother is one of the warmest, most caring, loving people of all time. She inspires me to give back, and is the reason why I enjoy my involvement with community projects.”


That’s why Rob waited to find just the right woman to marry. ‘I waited thirty years to get married. Then I recognized the same wonderful qualities of selflessness and generosity in my wife, who completely supports my charity work. I have a lot of community related commitments that take time away from my family, but my wife understands the value of giving back, and she happily accompanies me to community events.”


Last year Rob took an extended trip to Scotland with his father. “My father hadn’t been back for fifty years. He showed me the countryside, the house he was born in and introduced me to his relatives. It was a real opportunity to be together and to bond.”


For over three years, Rob has been on the steering committee for Neighbourhood Network, contributing strategic marketing products and services for events and charity drives. These include: identity creation, website design and development, brochure and marketing collateral, event tent design, and more.


Neighbourhood Network was founded by Belinda Stronach and is supported by Magna Int. Their mission is “to support the neighbourhoods of Newmarket and Aurora by providing volunteers and linking community resources to our associated charities and agencies.” [2]

In addition to his involvement with Neighbourhood Network, Rob and RC Design ensure they donate to three local charities every Christmas. Charities that have benefitted from RC Design’s generosity through donations, products and services are: York Region Children’s Aid, Inn from the cold, Spread the Net, Newmarket Celebrates the Arts, Real Youth Fair, Main Street Studio Tour (Newmarket Group of Artists), Town of Newmarket, Newmarket BIA and Gisimba Memorial Centre.


Far from Canada, in the little town of Kigali, Rwanda is an orphanage that is credited with saving the lives of over 400 people during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Over 800,000 people were killed in 100 days and the Gisimba orphanage was located in the middle of the worst fighting.[3] Founded in the 1980s by Peter and Dancilla Gisimba, the orphanage opened its doors to a dozen unwanted children from the local community. Today, the Gisimba Memorial Centre is home to 150 children and youth. In addition, the orphanage runs a nursery school for children from Gisimba and surrounding community. The Centre also provides support in a variety of ways (education, healthcare, financial) to children of families in need in the other villages. [4]


In December of 2010, Rob’s sister, Kim, traveled to Rwanda and spent time at Gisimba. Its story and legacy inspired her to work with them to raise donations and gain support for this little known orphanage that gives so much to its community. The work continues today. Through his sister, Rob was inspired by the Gisimba Family story and decided to support by building them a website. This tool is used to inform people of Gisimba work, and to generate much needed income for this charity centre. People can donate directly thorough the website at: http://www.gisimba.org


Spending time with Rob Clark, one is immediately aware that his focus is firmly on family and community. An excited new father, Rob’s future plan is to educate his children about the world around them. “Kids are so tied up in video games and the internet that they can be blind to the world around them – they don’t see how great they have it!” Rob plans to involve his family in community charity work that will teach them about others, and the importance of giving back. “I want to create opportunities for the children to learn while helping others.”

Asked why he gives back to the York Region and the larger world-wide community, Rob simply says: “People like to know that what they have done is helpful – it’s for the human connection. It feels good to help people who don’t have what they need. After all, what we remember in life are our experiences with other people.”



* Bio written by Heather Anne Lambert, halambert@rogers.com


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