Photo: Volunteer helps Foundation reach Canadian business sector

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John Ruffolo is a volunteer and donor who helps the Foundation reach Canada's business community and co-chaired our 20th anniversary gala. When he isn't advising the world's leading technology, media, and telecommunications companies through his job with Deloitte, he donates his time to fundraising. He lives in Toronto with his wife Carryn and their two children.

What inspired you to donate to the Foundation?

Five years ago, when my son was born, I started to think about the world after my lifetime. I started to question not only Canada's industrial policy, but our sustainability and environment. I imagined my son asking me in 20 years what I did for his future. Why did I allow our country to strip our natural resources to the detriment of future generations?

How have you helped the Foundation reach out to the business community?

I created a clean technology practice at Deloitte and wanted to launch it with great impact so our staff knew we were serious. We asked David Suzuki to be our keynote conference speaker. He spoke with such passion, the folks in my practice were completely blown away — some even came to tears. I completely underestimated the impact of not only David but also what launching this clean tech practice meant to our practitioners. I made my first donation to the Foundation the same day, and felt compelled to contribute more than just money — my time. I learned the Foundation didn't traditionally form relationships with corporate Canada, and I felt this is where I can add value.

How do you help fundraise for the Foundation?

We started a dinner series. When David came to Toronto to film The Nature of Things, he came to our house for dinner with leading CEOs from corporate Canada. The dinners were intimate, and educated the CEOs about the latest sustainability issues and potential solutions, and informed the Foundation what's facing corporate Canada. We all had the same goals.

Corporate Canada was not only a source of fundraising, but they also provided pro bono advice, services, and technology solutions to the Foundation.

What is Canada's biggest environmental challenge?

People seem to be looking for someone else to fix our environmental problem. We need to educate this country that it is our problem and we can fix it together. Some of the things we do can no longer be sustained, but this does not mean we will go back to the Stone Ages.

What would you like to say to other Canadian business leaders?

Their goals to return shareholder value is not at odds with sustainability objectives; in fact, they can leverage them to achieve even greater shareholder value and change the future of the country and the planet at the same time!

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