globe icon

Empowering Women in Philanthropy: International Women’s Day 2024


March 8, 2024 - Stories

Empowering Women in Philanthropy: International Women’s Day 2024

As we celebrate International Women's Day, we want to recognize the significant leadership role that women play within philanthropy. We’re proud to introduce two women who exemplify the impact that women have in shaping their communities and driving positive change.

Susan Crawford is a Partner at Crawford, Chondon & Partners LLP, and a member of William Osler Health System Foundation’s (Osler Foundation). Board of Directors. Susan's involvement with Osler Foundation began through her law firm's participation in Osler Foundation events. She was also the former chair of the Brampton and Caledon Community Foundation, where she got to know Osler Foundation's leadership. Susan joined Osler Foundation's Board of Directors in 2017 and has since played a vital role in shaping the Foundation's strategy and direction.

Shelagh Barry is Interim Senior Vice President of Philanthropy for Osler Foundation. Shelagh's journey into fundraising began after she graduated from the University of Toronto. She worked in human resources and insurance before finding her passion in non-for-profit work at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a role that ignited her passion for health care philanthropy. Joining Osler Foundation nine years ago, Shelagh saw it as a natural fit, allowing her to bring her expertise to a hospital foundation and make a difference in health care fundraising.

Both Susan and Shelagh emphasize the importance of women in philanthropy, highlighting how women bring a unique perspective and empathy to their philanthropic efforts. “As women occupy more leadership positions in the corporate world and inherit wealth, their influence in philanthropy continues to grow, impacting how organizations allocate their resources and support their communities,” said Susan.

"Women bring a unique blend of empathy, strategic vision, and unwavering commitment to social causes. Our influence is not just about fundraising; it's about driving meaningful, lasting change in our communities and beyond,” said Shelagh.

Shelagh and Susan's dedication to philanthropy serves as an inspiration to women everywhere. Their commitment to making a difference in their communities and their passion for health care philanthropy are a testament to the impact that women can have in shaping a more compassionate and inclusive world.

Shelagh reflects on her journey, stating, "My work at Osler Foundation has been incredibly fulfilling. I've always been drawn to health care philanthropy, and here, I have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in people's lives. It's a privilege to be part of such a meaningful cause.”

Susan shares her perspective, saying, "as women, we bring a distinct perspective and dedication to our communities. Our ability to empathize, strategize, and mobilize resources drives impactful change. We are not just donors; we are architects of a more compassionate and equitable future."

As we celebrate International Women's Day, let us honor and recognize the invaluable contributions of women like Shelagh and Susan, who are making a difference in the world of philanthropy and beyond. Their leadership and dedication are paving the way for future generations of women to continue making a positive impact in their communities.