"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

-William Shakespeare

When You Give of Yourself
Lynne Stopkewich, Director, Selwyn Jacob, Producer

Lynne Stopkewich is a Vancouver filmmaker best known for her edgy, award-winning features Kissed, Suspicious River, and Lilith on Top. Her films have premiered at the prestigious Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Berlin and Toronto film festivals. She is an outspoken advocate for independent filmmaking and is dedicated to mentoring emerging filmmakers in this country.

Mohammed and Yulanda (1937-2015) Faris

2010 Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts

Mohammed (Moh) and Yulanda Faris have been an active force in the Vancouver arts community for close to 40 years. They have liberally donated their time and financial support (often anonymously) to opera, dance, the visual arts, and literature, with a particular focus on young people, arts education, professional training opportunities, and legacy giving. Their warm and generous philanthropic spirit is rooted in their abiding love of the arts, especially music and reading, and their deep and sincere belief in the importance of caring, community, and family.

The organizations they have supported include, among many others, the Vancouver Opera and its Foundation, the Scotiabank Dance Centre, Judith Marcuse Projects, Vancouver Dance Foundation, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver International Writers' Festival, Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Children's Festival, Downtown Women's Eastside Centre, West Vancouver Foundation, and Canada's National Arts Centre, particularly the NAC's BC Scene regional festival (2009).

Mohammed Faris, a professional engineer and real estate developer, has served on numerous community boards. He was instrumental in establishing the Scotiabank Dance Centre, a stunning $11-million facility that provides Vancouver's diverse dance community with a home of its own. Opened in 2001, the centre includes the 150 seat Faris Family Studio.

Yulanda Faris discovered her passion for the arts as a young girl in Jamaica. She currently chairs the Vancouver Opera Foundation, where she spearheaded the effort to develop legacy gifts to the Vancouver Opera through estate planning, and with Mr. Faris founded the Judith Forst Fund for Young Artist Training. She also serves on the Dean's advisory board, UBC Faculty of Arts. Mrs. Faris received the City of Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award for Support of the Arts (2008) and the Minerva Foundation for BC Women's Women in Music Award (2007).

"Canadians should not shy away from lending a hand," says Mr. Faris. "No matter how little you may have, every little bit helps." Adds
Mrs. Faris, "As the Dalai Lama says: 'If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!'" Both believe strongly that championing the arts adds to the community's quality of life, for culture is the essence of a vibrant society.