The Yellowknife Community Foundation (YCF) announced the establishment of the Helen and John Parker Community Fund on Friday. Along with the announcement is a call-out for organizations to apply for the inaugural $10,000 grant.
The fund will support community organizations working in Yellowknife, Dettah, and Ndilo which are fostering volunteer development or mentorship, adressing community needs through collective action, or are building capacity for strong and resilient communities.
Both John and Helen were known for their community work and development projects, the YCF said, volunteering on numerous boards and committees, including the building of the United Church, and the Overture Concert organization.
John, who passed away in 2020, served as the Mayor of Yellowknife from 1963 to 1967, the NWT Deputy Commissioner from 1968 to 1979, and the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1979 to 1989. He was “instrumental in the establishment of responsible government in the NWT,” read a media release from the YCF.
Upon arriving in Yellowknife in 1955, Helen immediately began volunteering with the Yellowknife Children’s Aid Society, which at the time was the only child welfare agency in the NWT.
When John passed away in March of 2020, Helen began working with the YCF to establish a fund in her family’s name.
The YCF will announce a call-out for the Helen and John Parker community fund grant applications in early to mid-August each year. Organizations in the Yellowknife, Dettah, and N’dilo looking to develop and expand their communities are encouraged to apply.
“The deep roots that Helen and John planted within and for the Yellowknife community and their personal relationships over five decades have truly made a lasting impact,” wrote Laurie Gault, chair of the YCF.
“We are looking forward to seeing this fund prosper and benefit the community through Helen and John’s inspiration.”