SFU Honours Beedies with Chancellor’s Award
March 10, 2011
A $1.3-million ball field at Simon Fraser University is just the latest in a long list of generous gifts that Keith and Betty Beedie have bestowed on individuals, groups, schools and facilities worldwide.
This month, SFU recognized the couple’s many contributions with the 2011 Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award for contributions to B.C.
Their contributions through the Keith and Betty Beedie Foundation include financial assistance for Lower Mainland hospitals, Burnaby Kidsport to help underprivileged children join athletic programs, scholarships and bursaries at SFU and BCIT, and B.C. Special Olympics.
A self-made millionaire who has channeled $3.5 million of his fortune into worthy causes through the Keith and Betty Beedie Foundation formed in 1995, Keith Beedie is founder, chairman and CEO of the Beedie Group.
Now the largest landlord of industrial space in British Columbia with 129 industrial buildings across the province and more going up in Alberta, the Beedie Group started out modestly.
It grew out of a post-World War II furniture-construction company started in Vancouver by Beedie, then a 19-year-old high school graduate fresh off a stint in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a friend. Beedie spent the next 65-plus years fashioning a residential, industrial and now commercial building empire out of a mechanics diploma from Vancouver Tech.
“I’ve always wanted to use my wealth to help people less fortunate than me and give back to society,” says Beedie, whose wife Betty came up with the idea of donating through a foundation.
As a young family man unable to pursue his own university education, Beedie became passionate about helping Ryan, the youngest of his four children, earn a Bachelor of Business degree from SFU and an MBA from UBC.
That passion motivated Beedie senior to create a $10,000 endowment fund in 1992 for SFU Business students. It also inspired him to mentor Ryan, now president of the Beedie Group, as a philanthropist in his own right.
In February, father and son donated $22 million to SFU’s business school, marking the university’s largest donation ever.