“What you’re born into has a huge impact on where you can end up.”
– Janey Law, Fundholder
Just over a year ago, Janey Law and Norman Young weren’t sold on the idea of starting their own fund. As the children of immigrants, they both live by the humility instilled in them by their parents. “Our cultural background is one in which you actually don’t want to stand out too much,” explains Norman, a software manager. “Humility is highly valued and it’s about the collective, not the individual,” adds Janey, an accountant.
But Norman and Janey are also guided by generosity and gratitude, the qualities they admire most in their parents. Their doubts faded as they learned more about how they could help bring about positive change with their fund. “For us, it wasn’t about having our name on a wall,” says Janey. “It’s about being able to contribute in some small ways to really improve quality of life for lots of different people in the city,” adds Norman. “We’ve been given this privilege and this opportunity to do things that our parents never had before. How could we not give back?”
As passionate foodies, both Norman and Janey want to help all Torontonians access healthy food through their fund, the NJ Foundation. “When you’re in a big city like Toronto you don’t really realize that a lot of people struggle with food insecurity,” says Janey. “So many people have all this potential but if they’re worrying about food, they’re probably not thinking about much else.” They hope to support organizations like The Stop Community Food Centre, who are dedicated to providing vulnerable Torontonians with nutritious food while addressing the underlying issues that lead to poverty and hunger.
Over the past year, Janey and Norman’s commitment to philanthropy deepened as they have come to understand another lesson from their parents. “What you’re born into has a huge impact on where you can end up,” says Janey. “The more we can help other people and give them the type of support structure that we received by virtue of being born here, the better.”