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How One Woman’s Extraordinary Legacy Lives On

As we kicked off the 16 Ways to #ActTogether campaign on November 25 with a livestream, the Foundation paid tribute to Ann Southam – a trailblazing feminist in many ways.

(Tribute starts at 42:26)

November 25 marked a decade since Ann’s passing in 2010 at age 73, but she has left behind a tremendous legacy. As noted in a recent CBC Music tribute, Ann was a ground-breaking Canadian composer who navigated the male-dominated world of classical music and went on to become a Member of the Order of Canada. She applied a uniquely feminist approach to her music and “was on the vanguard of a generation that profoundly and positively changed the landscape and social mechanics of contemporary Canadian music,” writes Evan Ware in The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Southam, an avowed feminist, proudly — and even provocatively — incorporated this change in her music.”

“When women have power, girls can dream.”

She also played an active role as a donor and volunteer at the Canadian Women’s Foundation for 12 years. “Ann cared passionately about making positive change for women and girls in Canada. I believe she found a home with us,” said Bev Wybrow, who was the Foundation’s CEO at the time. Ann was particularly engaged in supporting girls’ programming, and became known for her belief that “When women have power, girls can dream.”

When Ann died, she left the Foundation a bequest that has amounted to $17 million, and represents the largest single donation a community-based Canadian women’s organization has ever received from an individual. It raised the Foundation’s work and impact to a new level, enabling the support of 54 girls’ programs throughout Canada, helping 2,400 girls build confidence, resilience, and leadership skills.

Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle

An important take-away from Ann’s transformational gift is the idea that she found a home with us and a way to act on her values through the Foundation. We wanted to honour Ann’s legacy and keep building on the momentum of her generosity. Ann’s brother Kip has said “Ann was passionate about many things, but issues for women and girls were particularly close to her heart.” Inspired by this special and unique woman, we created the Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle for donors to find a home at the Foundation, among like-minded gender equality supporters as Ann once did.

Kip is a dear member of our Canadian Women’s Foundation family and we are grateful to work alongside him on the Ann Southam Feminist Legacy Circle. We invite others to step into the Circle and join us in leaving a transformative legacy for women and girls throughout Canada.

For more information about joining the Circle, contact Laura Owen, Senior Director, Philanthropic and Planned Giving, by email (lowen@canadianwomen.org) or phone (1-866-293-4483 ext. 254).

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