2018 Lifetime Achievement Honouree
A lifelong resident of Newmarket and its former Mayor for nine years, Tom Taylor has a strong track record in both government and non-profit community involvement. He is an experienced director and member of multiple boards municipally, regionally, and provincially, and has a proven commitment to many facets of environmental concern. Married with four children, Tom says he has too many grandchildren to count.
Tom has been recognized for his extensive community and charitable efforts with several honorary lifetime memberships and awards of recognition including the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award (2012), the Governor General of Canada Award for Community Service, and Citizen of the Year Award from the Town of Newmarket in 2017.
He has always been inspired by his mother Ellen’s example of giving, along with his wife's father, Andrew. At the same time, he is moved by an awareness of the vast inequities in Canada and worldwide. Rather than a motto or philosophy, Tom realizes that life does not give equal opportunity to all, and until society levels the playing field we must work to correct this inequality.
A very memorable experience for Tom was being present as a Habitat home was turned over to the new family, and Tom recognized how their lives would change.
Tom’s unexpected reward comes from the feeling of satisfaction that he has been a small part of the starting and ongoing operation of numerous agencies that have succeeded in making a difference in people’s lives.
Tom shares some fascinating food for thought that, strictly on a monetary basis, if all charities and not-for-profits and individual volunteers were to stop functioning one morning, and governments were to take over their work in the York Region’s six northern municipalities, the property taxes would triple. Even more important, Tom believes we have to somehow paint a total picture of what these thousands and thousands of volunteers provide each and every day, and also acknowledge how the volunteers’ lives have been extremely enriched. This image would be sufficient to encourage others get to get involved now and in the future.
Tom does express a bit of concern about the hundreds of service agencies and organizations that presently exist. Although he respects each immensely for the work they do, to become more effective, Tom would like to see much more collaboration and consolidation taking place; perhaps this could be labelled a not-for-profit strategic plan. A very thoughtful approach that would be of great benefit to so many.