2020 Generosity of SpiritTM Awards

Charlie’s family – Kate, Lindsay and I – are truly honoured by Charlie’s nomination by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the University of Calgary – organizations Charlie was long and closely connected with – for the 2020 Generosity of Spirit Award–Outstanding Philanthropist: Lifetime Achievement. In his professional and community life, Charlie consistently exemplified the AFP values and offers a clear and uncomplicated example of his heartfelt & oft-repeated statement… “It isn’t what you have that counts; it is what you choose to do with what you have that is the real measure.” 

–Joanne Cuthbertson 

Nominated by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and the University of Calgary

The list of Charlie Fischer’s awards and accolades is long and impressive, reflecting his genuine desire and commitment to give back to the community. While his business success enabled Charlie to make significant financial contributions, he was never satisfied with simply writing a cheque. He provided invaluable time, energy, strategic insight and mentorship to help organizations propel their missions forward- creating real change for real people. Our community is forever grateful for Charlie’s vision, compassion and leadership that spurred so many Albertans into action around so many important issues. Yet as much as he accomplished as a businessman and philanthropist, it was how he did so – with such grace, wisdom and generosity – for which we will remember him most. A life lived well carries on in others. We know we will be in good company as we strive to honour Charlie’s legacy for years to come.

For 30 years, in the name of children’s health, Charlie coached, challenged and gave many of us the courage to do and be our best. Today, thanks to his vision, leadership and generosity, Calgary has a new Alberta Children’s Hospital, a new Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health opening next year, greater focus on patient-centred care and new research that will advance pediatric medicine. Beyond the borders of our own community, the Cuthbertson & Fischer Chair in Pediatric Mental Health at the Cumming School of Medicine will benefit young people around the world. The Chair’s research findings are advancing scientific knowledge, therapies and society’s perspective on adolescent mental health disorders, ranging from depression, to anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders.

Even more impactful than the financial contribution of Charlie Fischer was the credibility that a man of his stature brought to the issue of child mental health at a time when the stigma on youth was still so high both in the public and even medicine. It sent a clear and compelling message that this is important and that brought great credibility, opening the doors for people to rethink child mental health and to action.

– Frank P. MacMaster, PhD Inaugural Cuthbertson & Fischer Chair in Paediatric Mental Health

Charlie Fischer and his family have been dedicated supporters of the University of Calgary for more than 40 years. Their philanthropy spans all aspects of the university, including support for capital projects, scholarships for undergraduates and graduate students following a variety of academic paths, the Student Success Centre offering learning and writing support to  all UCalgary students, and critical research that has gone on to improve the lives of Calgarians. In particular, their support for endowed scholarships and student programming on campus has ensured that their impact will live on for generations of UCalgary students into the future.

Charlie leaves behind an amazing legacy due to his generosity of spirit with his time, his energy, his talents, and his resources. SAIT was the lucky beneficiary of all four for more than three decades.

– Heather Magotiaux, Vice President, External Relations, SAIT

Charlie had a sincere desire to make a difference in the community and he demonstrated this in everything he did. Charlie, along with his wife Joanne Cuthbertson, dedicated themselves to supporting young people and families struggling with mental health challenges. Charlie’s personal investment in building better communities, restoring the well-being of those less fortunate and in creating cultures of generosity will not be forgotten. The impact he has had in Alberta through his dedication to improving the lives of children and families will be felt for years to come.

– Julie Kerr, HuII Services Executive Director

Charlie was highly respected across Canada for combining vision and passion to achieve success in both business and philanthropy. He became known as a giant in the oil patch with a giant soft spot for young people – demonstrating unwavering dedication and generosity for health and education in our community.

Charlie’s contributions to our community and country were of such tremendous value that late last year he and his wife Joanne were invested as members of the Order of Canada. While bestowing this honour, Governor-General Payette said, “This devoted couple has, with unwavering commitment, spearheaded and taken action on a broad range of initiatives related to public education, children’s health, the arts and responsible business practice in Calgary and beyond.”

In recognition of how significantly Charlie’s contributions have formed – and continue to advance – the province’s history and place in Canada and throughout the world, Charlie was advised just days before his passing that he earned Alberta’s highest distinction of honour, the Alberta Order of Excellence.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Calgary & Area Chapter is pleased to honour Charlie Fischer as the 2020 Generosity of Spirit Award–Outstanding Philanthropist: Lifetime Achievement award. This award will be presented posthumously to Joanne Cuthbertson on May 18, 2021 at the Compass: By the Stars awards luncheon.

In keeping with local health authority guidelines, this luncheon is being hosted virtually. Tickets are available online at www.afpcompass.ca

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Charlie Fischer: Outstanding Philanthropist: Lifetime Achievement

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