It is exciting and a little daunting to join and lead an organization as innovative and impactful as the McConnell Foundation. It is a foundation that always challenged me in a very positive and constructive way as President and Executive Director of Centraide du Grand Montréal.
I am honoured to have the opportunity to build on the impressive legacy of Stephen Huddart and his predecessors and to work with the Board and staff in helping address the huge challenges faced by Canadians.
2020 was an “annus horribilis.” So many people lost loved ones, as well as jobs and social interactions, because of the pandemic. The trends overwhelmingly point to the reality that many infected with COVID-19 are people who already experience systemic inequality, poverty and discrimination – issues that existed long before the virus, and which are now being cracked open for all to see.
In adversity, solidarity and innovation are needed more than ever. During 2020, the media did a good job of telling us the multiple effects of COVID-19. However, we must recognize that there were also countless acts of kindness that did not go reported but nevertheless were essential for our social cohesion.
The McConnell Foundation supports Canadians in building a more inclusive, innovative, sustainable and resilient society. As a woman, as a second-generation Canadian, as a mother, as a humanitarian and community worker, as an engineer, these are my aspirations too, and I hope to work on them with you. Together we will find pathways forward.
For my part, I see hope in the many organizations the McConnell Foundation has supported this past year and the important work they are doing. It is an honour to serve a Foundation with over 80 years of history, and I am looking forward to building on that legacy so we can contribute to the best of our abilities in the challenging years ahead.
Do take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Recharge your batteries during the holidays!
Have a wonderful and safe New Year!
Lili-Anna Pereša C. Q.
President and CEO
The McConnell Foundation