Our interviews continue with the members of our fantastic volunteer board. This week: get to know our Board Director and Co-Chair Andrew Mainprize, who has been a Community One Foundation volunteer for 7 years, and a valuable member of the board for 5 years.
How did you first learn of Community One?
I had seen and heard about Community One throughout the community since the 90’s and saw The Fruit in the Toronto Pride Parade but wasn’t aware of all the great things they did with too much detail. I often saw them at fundraising events or the odd communication/poster around The Village. It was only through one of the previous board members who invited me to help out with an event / join the events committee to help plan the Fruit Cocktail/Fruit Cup events at Buddie’s that got me hooked.
Why is Community One important to you?
C1 gives me a genuine opportunity to both engage in the community, learn from my fellow board members and grant/award recipients and allows me to do work where I see the tangible impact in real-time. It’s incredibly rewarding & allows me to help lift up others in marginalized/equity-seeking groups who have always supported and encouraged me.
Do you have a favourite memory/initiative with Community One?
My favourite memory was an event I was in charge of planning, which was our Community One Foundation fundraiser and S&F Award Ceremony at Integral House in 2016. The buzz of the evening, the incredible showing from the community, the performances and speeches. It really opened my eyes to how big the impact and legacy was for Community One – paired with the fact that the event space was offered to us by the late James Stewart as part of his will and supported by the new owner who was living in the house alone waiting for his family to move overseas. It was a really magical evening where everyone showed up to rally around this organization and some of the founding members/volunteers shared memories/stories from the early days in the 1980s.
As Community One is a volunteer board, what other roles do you take on in your time?
I work full time at Rogers and have taken various roles between Sales, Planning, Governance and transformational programs. I am also one of the founding members and current co-chair of the Rogers 2SLGBTQIA Spectrum Employee Resource Group. My partner and I are also very active in the community and long-time supporters and attendees of the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.
What do you want people to know about Community One Foundation?
I want people to know and truly appreciate the history, impact and foundation of activism that is the core of Community One Foundation. This small but mighty organization has adapted and grown with our community and we owe incredible thanks to everyone who has been part of this journey – both our volunteer working board members, volunteers and all the recipients and community partners who have helped us grow along the way.