The 2021 NPD program:

National Philanthropy Day have been celebrated on November 15, 2021 starting at 10:30 am. Several events were on the menu:  a talk by Mr. Karel Mayrand, followed by the 2021 Awards ceremony for Excellence in Philanthropy. We honored and celebrated 2021’s recipients, individuals and corporate citizens who shape the philanthropic landscape here in Quebec.

The ceremony was hosted by Michel Poulin, Senior Consultant



Michel Poulin’s Biography





Talk by Karel Mayrand – How the philanthropic sector is mobilizing around the climate crisis!

The climate crisis has become a compelling issue that affects all sectors of society and all philanthropic causes. The mobilization of players in the philanthropic community is gaining momentum—through their investment strategies, contributions and advocacy. This discussion will help participants better understand the climate issue, and how they can integrate it into their philanthropic activities.


Karel Mayrand, President and CEO, Foundation of Greater Montréal

Karel Mayrand has been the President and CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montreal since June 2020. Prior to that, he was Director General, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, of the David Suzuki Foundation from 2008 to 2020, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project for Canada. He is also Vice-President of the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau. Karel is the co-author of Demain, Le Québec (Éditions La Presse, 2018), Une Voix pour la Terre (Boréal, 2012), and Ne renonçons à rien (Lux, 2017) with the group Faut qu’on se parle, in addition to having been the initiator and co-author of the Manifeste pour un Élan Global (2015) signed by 42,000 people.

Before joining the David Suzuki Foundation in 2008, Karel advised several international agencies, as well as Pierre Marc Johnson – former Premier of Quebec, for more than a decade on issues of globalization and the environment. In 2006, he published Governing Global Desertification (Ashgate Aldershot Publishing, London). In 2002, he was also the co-founder of the Unisféra International Center, where in 2005 he created the Planétair greenhouse gas compensation program. He was an Action Canada scholarship holder in 2005, as well as a finalist in the Arista competition in 2008, as socially responsible entrepreneur of the year in Quebec.




Monday, November 15, 2021 from 10:30 a.m.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: How the philanthropic sector is mobilizing around the climate crisis!

12 to 1 p.m.: Awards Ceremony

1 to 2:15 p.m.: KCI Afterparty Event and Special Tribute to Louis Vachon




One price for all: $35 plus tax per person

Conference offered in French. Q&A period in French and English.

NPD Press Release


KCI Afterparty Event and Special Tribute to Louis Vachon

A discussion with the Excellence in Philanthropy Award winners took place.  AFP Quebec and the selection jury paid a special tribute to Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank, to highlight his extraordinary philanthropic commitment throughout his career.

2021 Jury

The 2021 Excellence Awards Jury was made up of renowned individuals from the business community and charities.

The Chairperson of the jury was Mr. Andrew Molson, Chairman of the Board, Avenir Global and AFP Outstanding Philanthropist Award (2019) with his family.

The other members who participated in the deliberations were:

  • Myer Bick, President Emeritus, Jewish General Hospital Foundation and AFP Award for Outstanding Career in Philanthropy (2017)
  • Sandra Chartrand, president, Sandra Chartrand et Alain Bouchard Foundation and AFP Award for Outstanding Philanthropist (2015)
  • Julie Raîche, Regional VP, National Bank and AFP Award for Outstanding Corporation (2013)
  • Lucie Rémillard, President, LR Strategie and AFP Award for Outstanding Career in Philanthropy (2016)
  • Catherine Rowe, CFRE, Partner, Pur Philanthropie and AFP Award  for Outstanding Career in Philanthropy (2018)
  • Stéphanie Roy, Manager, Community Relations at Saputo and AFP Award for Outstanding Corporation (2018)
  • Jonathan Wener, Chairman & founder, Canderel, AFP Award for Outstanding Corporation (2016)

2021 Recipients 

Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, under 18 years old
Léandre Gaucher

Léandre Gaucher was nominated by the Montreal Children Hospital Foundation.

Léandre is a remarquable kid who overcomes challenges like no other. When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2019, his life changed forever. Now 12, Léandre is dedicated to giving back to The Children’s, where he received specialized care he never imagined he would need.

Léandre’s commitment to making a difference is already having a huge impact on the lives of children with cancer. To raise funds, he organizes community events with his mom’s support, such as an annual swim-a-thon, the 3rd of which was held this year. He held a charity concert with fellow musicians, as he is a passionate violinist who has been playing seriously from a young age. He also found creative ways to engage his peers during the pandemic, hosting an online guessing jar game and a virtual concert and he raised money through a read-a-thon. Léandre has made appearances on radio and television to share his story, while participating in The Caring for Kids Radiothon, a flagship event of The Children’s Foundation. He also participated in many other radio interviews to promote his events.

As he grows into a fun-loving pre-teen, Léandre is becoming increasingly involved in philanthropy. Since his diagnosis, he has raised over $25,000 to help young patients at The Children’s get back on their feet. There is no doubt that Léandre will continue to inspire us!

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, 18 to 35 years old
Gabrielle Phaneuf, Quebec Ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Canada

Gabrielle Phaneuf was nominated by Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

Gabrielle Phaneuf, 28 years old,  the Quebec Ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Canada at the national level, has been involved in the organization since 2016.

In the midst of the pandemic, starting in March 2020, Gabrielle (who has cystic fibrosis), imagined and then successfully held an incredible event: FK en musique / The Sound of CF. The initiative brought together dozens of DJs in 2020 and then in 2021, who agreed to provide “live” performances with the goal of raising awareness of the disease among new audiences and collecting donations across Quebec. Thanks to her leadership and enthusiasm, Gabrielle was able to surround herself with volunteers and breathe life into a project that cost nothing and raised over $10,000.

She’s now working on an entirely new fundraising initiative with the support of volunteers from the Montreal Chapter, and from her personal network. In 2021, Gabrielle launched a new project combining music and yoga, this time to raise money for the organization Living With Cystic Fibrosis.

The disease does not hold her back—to the contrary, it’s what drives her! She’s an inspiration for our  amazing youth, a model of resilience and optimism.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Corporation, Fewer than 500 employees
Ingénia Technologies

Ingénia Technologies was nominated by Montréal Sacré-Coeur Hospital Foundation.

Ingénia Technologies and the Giuseppe Racanelli family are major contributors to the health sector, and mental health in particular. Their philanthropic impact has translated into significant support for several charitable organizations. Through their participation in the Montréal Esprit Triathlon, $30,000 was raised for the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation in 2018, then $60,000 for the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Foundation the following year. In 2020 and 2021, three organizations each received $500,000 as part of their major funding campaigns, namely, the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal Foundation, the Cité de la Santé Foundation and the Centre Philou Fondation (support for children with multiple disabilities).

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Ingénia Technologies, a leader in the HVAC sector (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) provided considerable support to the health sector. The company gave Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont the equipment it needed to adapt part of its surgical unit so that the Hospital could receive COVID-19 patients, at a cost of $45,000. To achieve this, Ingénia and its 175 employees mobilized the necessary resources to deliver a ventilation unit in record time. Beyond the value of this donation, it was a challenge the company took up to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. 

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Corporation, 500 or more employees

Intact was nominated by CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation and Centraide.

Intact’s desire to build a resilient society is fully expressed through its philanthropic commitments and its community action program that encourages its employees to give and to volunteer. The company holds dear various causes including childhood poverty and climate change.

Its support of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation is remarkable. Between 2014 and 2018, Intact gave $500,000 to support Espace Transition in mental health, and contributed $500,000 to the 2020 COVID-19 emergency fund. The company is also a presenting partner of the Winter Triathlon event, in which its employees participate.

In addition, Intact has supported Centraide for several years. In 2021, the company contributed $1,360,000 to youth success and access to healthy food and housing.

It had an enormous impact during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to financing promising projects, it used its corporate influence to maximize its impact. In 2020, Intact gave more than $5 million to Centraide/United Way and $1.1 million to the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Its community action program encourages employees to contribute to causes they hold dear through giving and community involvement. Intact matches every dollar donated and contributes $20 for every hour of volunteer work, up to $1,000 a year, per employee. Through its employees’ donations, their hours of volunteer work and the company’s matching donations, the big Intact family donated a total of $880,000 to some 800 organizations across Canada in 2020.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
Lino A. Saputo, CEO, Saputo Inc.

Lino A. Saputo was nominated by Montreal Heart Institute Foundation and Centraide of Greater Montreal.

Businessman and exceptional leader, Lino A. Saputo places a lot of importance on social involvement and philanthropy.

Mr. Saputo proudly invests his time and money in support of society at large. He believes that being involved is key to having a real impact on the communities that helped develop the family business and allowed it to prosper. He also believes in giving back, and that involvement in charitable organizations should be an integral part of each and every person’s life. Indeed, it is a Saputo family tradition.

In 2011, Lino A. Saputo pursued this tradition by creating, along with his wife, the Amelia and Lino A. Saputo Jr. Foundation. Devoted to children living in disadvantaged communities, their Foundation promotes education, through homework support, coaching and physical activity. In addition to the Foundation’s financial contributions, Mr. Saputo is involved in a variety of ways in several organizations in Quebec, including the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, Centraide of Greater Montreal and Concordia University.

His driving motivation is to help change lives. Through his positive influence, he hopes to encourage others who are privileged to help their community.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Volunteer
François Rainville, CEO Averna

François Rainville was nominated by Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal.

Twelve years ago, François Rainville, CEO of Averna, decided to give his time as a volunteer at the Refuge des jeunes on New Year’s Eve. At the time, François had no idea that he would go down in the history of the organization by becoming one of its lucky stars. He went from volunteering in the kitchen to becoming a member of the Board of Directors, then president of the organization.

He brought the same qualities to the Refuge that built his professional success: leadership, compassion and a keen sense of strategy. He helped to build and carry out several fundraising campaigns and benefit events, like the SOIRÉE des CIO, the SOIRÉE des VP RH and the “Show du Refuge.”

François Rainville’s first campaign, Dons d’Avenir, allowed the Refuge to move out of the church basement it had been renting and purchase a building at the heart of Montréal’s Centre-Sud!

In 2019, the Refuge decided to create a Foundation in order to ensure the organization’s future, with François Rainville as the Chair of the Board of Directors.

His leadership was invaluable in many ways. He was an exceptional ambassador in rallying support for the Refuge from his network of business partners, professional connections and personal contacts.

François Rainville brought the Refuge to a whole other level of funding, while remaining humble and remarkably compassionate, which had a major impact on the organization’s capacity to offer services to the 600 homeless young men who come to the Refuge every year.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Career in Philanthropy
Sophie Baillargeon, Senior Director Strategic Development, CHUM Foundation

Sophie Baillargeon was nominated by CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.

Sophie Baillargeon’s love for philanthropy is only equalled by the passion and determination she has shown throughout her career in advocating for causes that she has made her own.

A recognized expert in philanthropic development, Ms. Baillargeon started her career in 1991 at the Sainte-Justine Foundation and participated in several major campaigns over the last 30 years. She is recognized for her commitment and strategic vision, geared towards the development and sustainability of the philanthropic organizations she supports.

Working for Centraide of Greater Montreal from 1995 to 2002, she actively contributed to the creation of the first department dedicated to major individual donations and the implementation of donor solicitation and loyalty strategies. When she returned to the Sainte-Justine Foundation, she played a vital role in the deployment of three major campaigns, including Growing Up Healthy and Healing More Better. Ms. Baillargeon has held a number of strategic positions within this organization related to major donations and planned giving, donations from the general public and corporate partnerships. She is currently the Senior Director of Strategic Development at the CHUM Foundation.

With her acute cross-cutting vision, Ms. Baillargeon plays an important role in the advancement of her profession by redefining the philanthropy of today and tomorrow.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Jury’s Special Choice
Alexe Gagnon, Spokesperson, Opération Enfant Soleil and Fondation Charles-Bruneau

Alexe Gagnon was nominated by Opération Enfant Soleil and Fondation Charles Bruneau.

In 2014, when she was 11, Alexe Gagnon learned that she had a form of bone cancer known as Ewing Sarcoma. With her ardour and her big heart, despite the disease, she got involved in her community and divided her time between the various paediatric foundations she cared about, while energetically pursuing her studies. In 2015, she became the spokesperson for the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, an ambassador of Opération Enfant Soleil in 2018, and Champion Child of the Children’s Miracle Network in 2019.

Alexe participated in many campaigns, events and interviews with the goal of raising awareness of children’s health among Quebecers. Her calls for donations and her testimonials made a huge contribution to raising the profile of this cause so dear to her, both in Quebec and across Canada and the United States.

Over the last year, despite the pandemic and her vulnerable health, Alexe ardently pursued her involvement.

Through several videos of encouragements and recognition, Alexe has, for example, been able to motivate thousands of associates at Quebec’s 70 Walmart branches, a partnership that raised a record $3 million during the last Telethon. An exceptional speaker, Alexe was also the spokesperson for a national campaign led by IGA and Cascades that raised over $65,000 for the Fondation Charles-Bruneau. Moreover, she has actively contributed to several major projects, including the 25th anniversary of the Tour CIBC Charles-Bruneau. At the Tour, she played herself in a film short that made a major contribution to the notoriety and success of the event, which raised over $4.7 million despite the pandemic.

She has made an incalculable contribution to Opération Enfant Soleil and  the Fondation Charles-Bruneau. Her limitless energy, inner brightness and contagious smile have touched the hearts of Quebecers and inspired thousands of people. Moved by her story and her courage, many participants have doubled their efforts over the last few years to surpass their fundraising goals.

After five relapses in seven years and a constant battle, Alexe Gagnon passed away this summer, to the profound sadness of all those who knew her, but her impact lives on. She is and will remain a great source of inspiration for all children and families affected by the disease and for all those who were drawn, from near and far, to her beautiful universe. Alexe firmly believed in the power of commitment, and her eloquence naturally moved people to action. Losing her is a difficult reminder of the reality that more progress is needed. Already, dozens of donors to 24h Tremblant and the Tour CIBC Charles-Bruneau have confirmed their participation in upcoming editions, in her memory.

All those who had the opportunity to cross paths with her at the Fondation Charles-Bruneau, Opération Enfant Soleil or Leucan can testify to the extent to which Alexe was a unique young woman who left no one indifferent. Her legacy is boundless.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli

Award for Outstanding Innovative Manager
Nathalie Boudreau, Executive Director, Fondation Hôpital Charles-Lemoyne

Nathalie Boudreau was nominated by Fondation Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne.

Nathalie Boudreau’s exemplary trajectory is filled with remarkable accomplishments. Among them, she took the bold initiative, in spring 2020, of bringing together several hospital foundations into an unprecedented solidarity movement around a shared virtual event, the Generations Challenge.

Determined to do things differently in a changing world, and persuaded that there’s strength in unity, Ms. Boudreau inspired three other executive directors of CISSS de la Montérégie hospital foundations to join her flagship event, traditionally the in-person Generations Challenge against cancer. The result was the Generations Challenge against COVID—an unprecedented collaboration to join forces in the fight against the pandemic!

Nathalie Boudreau demonstrated the importance she places on collaboration among foundations on the same territory. She generously made available to them a strong brand, built over many years, in the hopes of generating a greater impact for the health of the community. Ms. Boudreau was a true catalyst for change. Under her leadership, the four foundations pursued a shared vision and pooled their resources, to great effect: five times more money was raised than in years past, that is, more than $1 million in only two editions! Her leadership also garnered the support of elected officials in the area and mobilized the business community to join the Challenge.

Ms. Boudreau doesn’t plan to stop there—her ambition far surpasses the boundaries of the Montérégie. Her dream? For all of Québec’s hospitals to join forces around the Generations Challenge for the wellbeing of patients and their families.

Crédit-photo: Photographie d’événements Mélissa Vincelli