All in the Family
Being able to share with others is great, but inspiring others to share has the potential for even greater impact.
For Dr. Jane Parr and Craig Spiegel, creating the DR. JANE PARR AND CRAIG SPRIEGEL FAMILY FUND with the Niagara Community Foundation was a way to both keep the memory of loved ones alive and to encourage others to give back to their community.
Parr, an optometrist, who served patients in Port Colborne and Dunnville for decades, originally created a memorial scholarship in 1999 at Port Colborne High School in the name of her father, Gilbert VanViegen, a civic-minded builder and community leader who had died that year.
Her then-teenage son was a student at Port Colborne High when his grandfather died, and Parr saw the scholarship as a way to encourage post-secondary education and give back to the community where her family had established strong roots. In 2006, when her brother Conrad VanViegen also died young, Parr renewed her commitment to encouraging post-secondary education and to keeping the VanViegen name alive.
Now more than a decade later, Parr is ensuring that the scholarship lives on by establishing a permanent fund that will one day – either through regular contributions or upon her death – be endowed with sufficient resources to keep on giving in the VanViegen name.
For Parr and her husband, Craig, the long-term commitment is a way to show their children and others how easy and important it is for ordinary people to give, and, by creating their own fund, they will be able to support additional causes that “are dear to my heart – Community Living and Special Olympics.” Parr has a special needs
sister who lives in the Netherlands and it has always been a goal of hers to volunteer with the Special Olympics organization in the nottoo- distant future. In the past, she has performed volunteer eye exams at the now closed Huronia Regional Centre, as a way to demonstrate their commitment to the need.
Having an effective and attainable way to support the causes that are dear to them long after they are gone “feels great,” says Parr. “We can support the next generation of students and Special Olympics athletes, and we are showing our children how important it is to give back to your community.”