Pillars of the Metchosin community, Frank and Jo Mitchell have supported United Way for decades.
“We believe that those who can, should help others who can’t,” says Frank. “Individuals’ fortunes (whether positive or negative) are at least as much the result of luck as virtue.”
It was Africa that first brought Frank and Jo together—they met in Kenya while Frank was touring the continent.
After a working life spent abroad, the Mitchells retired back to the family farm in Metchosin at the end of 1992. Each in their own way, both have had an impact by invigorating social concern and collaboration.
Elected in 2005, Jo tirelessly served three terms on the Metchosin Municipal Council, bringing her volunteering causes and passion to the table. Jo’s many contributions include helping to establish both the Metchosin Community Association and the Metchosin Community House—which occupied a rental house slated for demolition—and co-founding the Metchosin Foundation to preserve and steward the rural area’s unique ecosystem. She also edited the Metchosin Muse for 8 years.
Frank has also volunteered for a number of years with the Community Social Planning Council, and has been involved with many advisory committees to the Council and region as well as local associations.
An avid painter, Frank attends the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA) every year and exhibits his work, most recently as part of the Stinking Fish Studio Tour in Metchosin and East Sooke.
Countless local organizations have benefited from the Mitchell’s leadership and their steadfast commitment to their community and social justice. “Private charity is inadequate to fund the services required for healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable communities,” says Frank. “Even with adequate public funding (and taxes), private charity would still be necessary to fill inevitable gaps. Heavy reliance on charity, as at present, is a second best solution.”
For this reason, the Mitchells continue to support community-centric (as well as national and international) charities. They have aimed to augment their United Way donations annually to match the rise in the cost of living.
This year, their donation marks many milestones, as both Frank and Jo turned 80 years old – as did United Way Greater Victoria. To share these momentous birthdays, and the common goal of doing good in the community, is extra special. Their community-minded approach to life has made the Mitchells a natural partner with United Way.
“There’s nothing inevitable about the accelerating inequality and stress associated with high economic growth, and lack of aggregate resources is no excuse for the social problems we face,” says Frank. “We therefore donate to organizations seeking a more just and sustainable system as well as those, such as United Way, which focus on picking up the pieces of a malfunctioning system.”
Through their cumulative contributions over the years, the Mitchells have supported dozens of local agencies and programs under United Way’s network of services. Their wish is to see others do the same— committing to help those in need in any capacity they can.
Photo credit: elighphoto.com