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The Yellowknife Community Foundation announces the establishment of the Helen and John Parker Community Fund

The Yellowknife Community Foundation (YKCF) announces the establishment of the Helen and John Parker Community Fund and a call-out for grant applications to the fund.

John H. Parker O.C., P.Eng, was Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1979 to 1989. He also served as Mayor of Yellowknife from 1963 to 1967, and NWT Deputy Commissioner from 1968 to 1979. Mr. Parker was instrumental in the establishment of responsible government in the NWT. During their time in the north, Helen and John Parker were well known for their community work and for the development projects they undertook to help the Territory grow and prosper.

John, a geological engineer, arrived in Yellowknife in 1954 to work for N. W. Byrne, a consulting engineer, whose practice he bought in 1963. He was elected to Yellowknife Town Council in 1958. Helen Parker arrived in 1955, having just received her MSW from McGill University. She was immediately recruited as a volunteer worker with the Yellowknife Children’s Aid Society, which was the only welfare agency in the NWT caring for children in need of protection. It operated until the establishment of federal government welfare services in the early 1960’s. Together, the Parkers were active community volunteers including the building of the United Church, the Overture Concert organization and numerous other boards and committees.

In March of 2020, John passed away and Helen decided to work with the Yellowknife Community Foundation to establish a new fund in the family’s name. The purpose of the Helen and John Parker Community Fund will be to support community development and collective action to address community needs in the Yellowknife, Dettah and N’dilo areas. Helen and John understood the importance of strong communities. They worked together to strengthen communities, and in doing so learned that developing a community of friends was one of life’s best assets. The fund will hopefully help others learn that lesson, while filling the need for community development. Helen hopes that the goals of the fund will resonate with other community supporters and donors. She looks forward to seeing the fund grow so that it can provide the most community support possible.

Quote by Laurie Gault, Chair of the Yellowknife Community Foundation – “It is with deep appreciation that the Yellowknife Community Foundation establishes the Helen and John Parker Community Fund. The deep roots that Helen and John planted within and for the Yellowknife community and their personal relationships over 5 decades, have truly made a lasting impact. We are looking forward to seeing this Fund prosper and benefit the community through Helen and John’s inspiration”.

In early to mid August, the Yellowknife Community Foundation will be announcing a call-out for grant applications to the Helen and John Parker Community Fund. Organizations conducting activities in the Yellowknife, Dettah and N’dilo are welcome to apply for a $10,000 grant to support new and/or existing programming and/or community-based activities in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Fostering volunteer development and/or mentorship in the community
  2. Supporting collective action to address identified community needs or issues
  3. Building capacity for stronger, more resilient communities

Applications can be submitted on the Foundation’s grant application portal.

Donations to the fund can be made online through CanadaHelps.

The Yellowknife Community Foundation was formed in 1993 to provide interested individuals and organizations with a means of supporting projects in our community for the enduring future.  The Foundation is not singularly dedicated to any specific area of support. It embodies a simple concept – that people working together can make a difference.

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