IMG_5431“I wasn’t that altruistic at the start,” confesses Dr. Harlow Hollis, owner of DermaSpa clinic and a United Way donor for more than 45 years. He learned about charitable giving from his wife, Jane, who had forged strong ties at an early age with some of the poorest people in their home town.

Jane was a school teacher in Africville, a small impoverished community on the north end of Halifax that was eventually condemned by the local government. “Jane saw the need on a daily basis,” says Harlow. “Through her understanding, she helped me appreciate the situation those children and their families faced.”

Jane and Harlow met one fateful summer in the 1960s working at Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton. Both were university students happy for the extra income – she was a waitress and he was a bell hop – and they began dating, fell in love, married and moved out west. They raised their two sons and two daughters in Victoria and now have six grandchildren.

Born into a working class family, Harlow was the first Hollis to attend university. He earned a degree in mathematics from Acadia and a degree in medicine from Dalhousie. As a family doctor in New Brunswick for four years, Harlow returned to Dalhousie to complete a residency in reconstructive surgery then treating burns and complex injuries. He worked long hours and would opt for a smaller practice so he could spend more time with family.

As a Grade 5 school teacher, Jane chose to donate to United Way because it was known and trusted among maritime teachers. Early in their 40+ years of marriage, Jane taught her husband well on the art of annual giving. “Helping people in need makes their lives

better and less stressed but also engenders a more harmonious and stable community for all, ”says Harlow. Now a volunteer with United Way’s Individual Giving Cabinet he encourages professionals like himself to give generously.

“I teach people as my Jane taught me: United Way is the best organization to give to

because they support not just one but more than 90 charities in Greater Victoria. And while we can’t solve everyone’s problems, we can certainly open doors to sunnier days,” says Harlow.

Dr. Harlow Hollis is one of over 3,000 leader donors at United Way who are passionate about creating lasting change in our community. Together these individuals contributed $3.6 Million for the 2014 campaign. United Way recognizes donors through varying levels of giving which include our local Community Hero ($500) as well as national giving levels of Bronze ($1,200), Silver ($2,500), Gold ($5,000) and Platinum ($10,000).

We thank all our donors who lead the way in their workplace or individually within their community.

To become a leader donor, call Cheryl at 250-385-6708