Elderly couple donates $100,000 to Yellowknife foundation

John and Helen Parker.
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An elderly couple who once called Yellowknife home has donated $100,000 to the Yellowknife Community Foundation.

John and Helen Parker lived in the NWT capital for over 35 years before moving south in 1989.

Today, the couple calls Vancouver Island home, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving back to a community that gave so much to them.

“It pleases us to know that this donation will be of help to the Yellowknife community which has meant so much to us,” said Helen Parker.

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The couple’s donation will go into the foundation’s general fund as shares.

Established in 1993, the Yellowknife Community Foundation’s mandate is to provide individuals and organizations with a means of supporting projects in the community.

The foundation has funded scholarships for students in various fields and provided grants to groups working with seniors, in environmental advocacy and health care.

Bronwyn Watters, president of the Yellowknife Community Foundation, said the Parkers’ donation will support charitable work in the community for years to come.

“[The Parkers] were a significant part of the growth and development of our city and the Northwest Territories,” she said. “This donation represents a continuation of that commitment.”

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Couple well known for community work

John moved to Yellowknife from Saskatchewan in 1954 to work as a geological engineer. He was elected to city council four years later in 1958 before serving as mayor between 1963 and 1967.

He then became commissioner of the NWT in 1979, a position he would hold until the Parkers left the territory in 1989.

Helen, a social worker by trade, was immediately recruited as a volunteer by the Yellowknife Children’s Aid Society when she first came to the city in 1955.

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At the time, the society was the only welfare agency in the territory caring for children in need of protection.

The Yellowknife Community Foundation says the couple’s contributions to Yellowknife and beyond can’t be understated.

“Together, the Parkers were active community volunteers,” read a statement on the foundation’s website.

“During their time in the North, Helen and John Parker were well known for their community work and for the development projects they undertook to help the new territory grow and prosper.”

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