November 15, 2022 is National Philanthropy Day – a time to celebrate those who put others first, invest in their communities and show dedication to making our world a better place.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Edmonton and Area Chapter hosts the annual National Philanthropy Day Awards to celebrate the outstanding achievements of philanthropists who create impact in their communities through their charitable work.

This year, MacEwan University is pleased to recognize the award recipients who have partnered with us to support students and enhance our community.

Image of the ATB tower in downtown Edmonton, lit up at night.

ATB Financial

ATB Financial continues to show bold leadership as a vanguard of support for non-profits and the charitable sector and is committed to supporting a number of 2SLGBTQIA+ initiatives 365 days a year.

ATB Financial was one of the first supporters of MacEwan’s Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD), which supports research, teaching and service work related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Having such a significant supporter draws attention to CSGD and the important work happening there.

Despite increasing progress, the fight for equality is not over – and ATB Financial remains a committed partner in inspiring social change for the greater good.

Image of country singer Brett Kissel, on stage, holding a guitar

Brett Kissel

Brett Kissel serves as the honorary cabinet chair for the fundraising campaign for MacEwan’s recently launched Distinguished Visiting Artist in Country Music (DVACM) program. The initiative creates a bridge between up-and-coming creative professionals and the country music industry, leading to life-changing opportunities for aspiring Canadian country singers, musicians, producers and other industry professionals, by enabling them to learn from the most celebrated names in their field.

Kissel’s dedication to this role was instrumental in launching the DVACM campaign to great attention and success. His efforts, including headlining a buzzworthy launch event, are helping us to reach our $3 million fundraising goal to support this unique initiative.

Image of John and Betty Veres standing next to each other.

John and Betty Veres

A generous contribution from John and Betty Veres allowed MacEwan to establish the university’s largest-ever endowment, the John and Elizabeth Veres Indigenous Student Support in Nursing. This bursary supports Indigenous students pursuing careers in nursing, which recognizes the importance of the profession and the essential role that these students will have in our health-care system. John and Betty’s experiences of working with Indigenous students and in Northern Alberta communities, as well as their work in the nursing profession, inspired the direction of the award.

The Veres’ exceptional generosity and commitment to supporting Indigenous students is helping to transform the lives of future Indigenous graduates, making a lasting impact on the nursing profession, their community and beyond.

Image of MacEwan University staff standing together at an outdoor event

MacEwan Staff and Faculty

This year, MacEwan employees came together to champion student success by supporting the Students First campaign, which contributes to scholarships, awards and bursaries. MacEwan staff and faculty are dedicated to their work and the students they serve, which was demonstrated by the over 500 per cent increase in employee donors during the campaign. 

MacEwan employees work tirelessly to empower students to reach their full potential, building the next generation of future-focused, resilient, globally competitive change makers. Thanks to their generosity, collective efforts and MacEwan spirit, more students will receive financial support that will remove barriers to education and develop future leaders in Alberta and beyond.

Image of the executive members of SAMU standing together.


The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) is a non-profit organization working independently from MacEwan University to support student initiatives and programs. SAMU’s purpose is to enrich the student experience by focusing on non-academic needs through an array of student-driven programs and services. SAMU provides funding and support to address a variety of student needs including food insecurity, campus safety, mental health, financial support and study spaces.

The SAMU Cares program is a bursary established to meet SAMU’s vision of financially supporting students and their families, and is maintained through the creative fundraising efforts of the SAMU community. The organization’s executive felt the most significant and impactful way to reach and meet the needs of as many students as possible was to make a substantial investment in the SAMU Cares program. Their endowment investment is one of the largest in the organization’s history.

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