Koerner foundation supports social responsibility series

Mar 20, 2003, vol. 26, no. 6

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A conference series on social responsibility is the latest SFU endeavour to receive support from the Leon and Thea Koerner foundation, which has been providing funds to a variety of groups and events at SFU since 1965.

The first conference, highlighting concerns about Canada's immigration policies and the environment, was held March 7-8 at Harbour Centre.
The foundation may have a long involvement at SFU, but its role is not generally well known.

Mary Ann Stouck, an associate professor in humanities and English, was recently elected chair of the foundation's board of governors for the current year (2002-03). She says since the university opened, the foundation has given grants totaling over $215,000 to more than 40 units at the university, including the university's art collection, the childcare centre, the library and the faculties of art and science. Since 1991, it has supported an annual lecture series in liberal arts at Harbour Centre and has also funded projects in the department of history and the school for the contemporary arts.

The foundation was established in 1955 with a capital gift of $1 million from Leon Koerner and his wife Thea, who came to Canada from Czechoslovakia in 1937 to establish a forestry company.

The foundation's mandate is to provide project grants to cultural and creative arts organizations, higher education institutions and social services projects. Its activities are administered by a board of governors chosen from such fields as education, the arts, social services and finance and industry.

Previous faculty who have served on the foundation include former SFU president Jack Blaney, who was the board's first SFU representative and served for 12 years, and English professor emeritus Peter Buitenhuis, who served six years and chaired the committee on higher education.

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