United Way Red Feather Donor Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy celebrated for 50+ years of dedication to the community

VICTORIA, BC –Dr. Elizabeth (Betty) Kennedy, 93, was born in Victoria, raised in Burnaby, and grew up with a strong moral code grounded in education, close family ties, and a commitment to help and give.

Now, Betty is one of over 500 Red Feather friends being recognized for their loyal commitments to United Way. Betty and her late husband, Gilbert Kennedy, have donated to United Way for more than 50 years.

“Betty is a valued and dedicated patron who shares our vision to improve life for thousands of local citizens,” says Patricia Jelinski, CEO at United Way Greater Victoria. “Her generosity helps enable United Way to fund hundreds of community programs benefitting those most in need in Greater Victoria.”

A pragmatic woman with an affinity for unravelling the complex, Betty excelled in mathematics. Shecompleted her BA in mathematics with honours fromthe University of British Columbia (UBC) and began teaching as a lecturer the following year. Betty went on to complete her Master’s degree but stopped thereto care for her mother in her final days.

Returning to Victoria in 1957, Betty taught with the University of Victoria’s (UVic) Department of Mathematics and Statistics for 22 years. Her husband, Gilbert, completed a doctorate of law at Harvard University in 1956, was a law professor at UBC, and served as BC Deputy Attorney General from 1957 to 1972. He remained in the Attorney General department until 1982. In the meantime, the Kennedy’s adopted three daughters.

In addition to teaching, Betty chaired the Canadian Junior Mathematic Competition for BC, was a founding secretary for the BC College and University Program in Mathematics, and chaired the Canadian Mathematic Olympiad. Betty also held many positions with Girl Guides of Canada, earning their Medal of Merit. She also volunteered with the United Way’s community chest and allocations committee.

From volunteer to chair of the Royal BC Museum board of directors (Betty and Gilbert worked with UVic to bring in a rare Leonardo da Vinci exhibit in 1999, the museum’s second best attended event after the Titanic show), to committee chair for UVic’sFinnerty Gardens (where she and volunteers rejuvenated the garden and hosted the still popular annual plant sale and fundraiser for 12 years), all in her retirement years.

“It’s fun,” she says. “The joy is in the learning, the doors that open, the people you meet who care and want to do things that are worthwhile.” Betty also believes learning and growing is a lifeline for people. “If you believe in something, you should do something about it.” And so she does, in some way, every day.


About United Way’s Red Feather

United Way Greater Victoria launched their Red Feather donor recognition program in 2008 to honour donors who have generosity contributed to the movement for 25 years or longer.

Today, our United Way honours 530 donors as Red Feather friends from across the region.

The first Red Feather tea was held at Government House on July 21, 2009.

The red feather was adopted in 1949 by United Ways as a national post-war symbol of united fundraising and community building.

At that time, dedicated donors often wore a red feather during the annual fundraising campaign to show their commitment toward united humanitarian giving.

For more information, please contact:

Heather Skydt, Communications & Marketing Director
United Way Greater Victoria
Ph: 250-984-2269 heather@uwgv.ca