Chris Coleman and Dr. Mary Ellen Purkis Receive United Way Honourary Life Memberships

The Board of United Way Greater Victoria recognized Chris Coleman and Mary Ellen Purkis with Honourary Life Memberships at this morning’s 82st Annual General Meeting. The Board also welcomed four new members and bid farewell to three others.

Chris Coleman has been an active member of United Way Greater Victoria’s Campaign Cabinet for 14 years. He is well known around Victoria having served six terms as a City of Victoria Councillor where he worked hard to address issues that improved the community. He has been repeatedly recognized for his work including: Victoria’s “Citizen of the Year” awarded in 1994; Honourary Citizen Award, City of Victoria, 2000; Queen’s Jubilee Medal, 2002; and CFAX Santa’s Anonymous Volunteer of the Year in 2014. Coleman was the local co-chair on the national homelessness initiative for nine years.

Dr. Mary Ellen Purkis has been involved with United Way since the mid-1990s where she was a key participant in the reorganization of United Way’s funding process. Since 2012, she has been a Board member, Chair, and most recently Past Chair. A generous supporter of United Way since 1995, and in 2018, she created a Donor Advised Fund to support her family’s passion for volunteerism.  Since 1993 she has been with the University of Victoria, as Professor of Nursing, Director of the School of Nursing, and Dean of the Faculty of Human and Social Development. Her research and community leadership has focused on advocating for the homeless, the elderly and for Indigenous peoples.

New Board members announced are Lisa Arora, Mackenzie Edwards, Kirk Mercer and Commander Sam Sader – bios included below.  They join the following returning Board Members:

  • Mike Macdonell, Board Chair
  • Ivan Watson, Past Chair
  • Sharon Moysey, Treasurer
  • Jasmine Dadachanji
  • Deborah George
  • Kathy MacNeil
  • Steve McKerrell
  • Rick Wiegel
  • Bruce Williams

United Way Greater Victoria recognizes Dr. Mary Ellen Purkis, Captain (N) Jason Boyd and Stu Shields who are stepping down from the Board.

Follow United Way on Twitter: @uwgv


For more information, please contact:

Heather Skydt, Director of Marketing and Communications
United Way Greater Victoria

United Way ‘unites’ the generosity of people – business, labour, government and individual donors – with the skills, knowledge and expertise in the community to help ensure those in need reach their full potential. This collaborative approach is building a stronger, more resilient community to serve current and future generations.

As one of the region’s largest annual funders of local social service programs, we assist charitable organizations by identifying and funding programs to address immediate needs and underlying causes of our community’s most #UNIGNORABLE local social issues.

United Way is a year round fundraiser and community builder, and provides multi-year funding to create a strong and stable network of local services. For more than 80 years we have served the community and raised over $170 Million. Our work, as a community leader, is as relevant today as it ever was.  And with the ongoing support of our donors, we will continue to positively changes lives