Ethel Tibbits Awards raise more than $30,000 for Nova House
It was a special year that became a record-setter thanks to the support of the community.
The 20th annual Ethel Tibbits Women of Distinction Awards at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport was a reunion of sorts for dozens of past winners, as well as organizers involved in the earliest days of the fundraiser for Chimo Community Services and local women’s charities.
Held on International Women’s Day, last Friday’s luncheon marked a momentous time in the event’s history, with the unveiling of a Wall of Fame honouring the contributions made by 90 previous Ethels winners to the local community.
The winners in six categories embodied the spirit of Ethel Tibbits—the pioneering publisher of The Richmond Review, who was fearless in speaking out on social issues, including the internment of the Japanese during World War II—none more so than Irene Frith, whose career achievements included being the first woman to run for the mayor’s seat, the first female chair of the Fraser Harbour Port Authority, and running a business in the 1960s when female business owners were virtually unheard of.
A special video about Frith’s accomplishments brought the luncheon to a climactic conclusion, as she received a standing ovation from the crowd as she was escorted toward the stage by her son, Richmond Centre MLA Rob Howard.
Mary Kemmis, publisher of The Richmond Review, said this year’s fundraiser raised more than $30,000 for Nova House, a shelter for women and their children escaping domestic violence.
“It’s an awe-inspiring celebration of women and their achievements in our community as well as a source of much-needed funds to support women and their children who turn to Nova House at a time of need,” said Kemmis, who emceed the event.
Dayah Johal, named the winner in the Youth category, drew a chorus of chuckles and one of the loudest responses of the night when she proclaimed: “It was so worth skipping school today for this.”
She added: “When you bring a positive attitude you can really accomplish anything.”
Richmond Chinese Community Society volunteer Clara Chow, winner of the community (volunteer) award, said it was a great surprise to receive the award and that she will “work harder to be seen as a role model to my children, to our youth, and to serve the country and community better.”
The event’s financial success was buoyed by increasing support from previous sponsors, including Coast Capital Savings, and the addition of new sponsors, including Blundell Centre/Conway Richmond Estates, which sponsored the Pioneer award.
“Coast Capital Savings is committed to helping build a richer future for youth,” said Coast Capital’s Rachel Dick. Coast Capital became a Pink Diamond sponsor this year, and presented the youth award.