Philanthropy, for members of the Jenkyns family, is something they learned at a very early age from someone who cared deeply about humanity and who passed his values on to his children and grandchildren.
Art Jenkyns, who founded Operation Eyesight in Calgary in 1963, instilled a genuine caring for others in his five children and they have in turn, passed that along to their children. The focus of their giving is invariably the charity that was close to their father’s heart, and all of them continue to make donations and give their time.
In recognition of the Jenkyns family’s ongoing commitment, the members jointly have been awarded a Generosity of Spirit award for Outstanding Philanthropic Family. The award is bestowed by the Calgary chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in honour of National Philanthropy Day. The family will accept the award at a celebratory reception on November 15, 2013.
The award is really about Art Jenkyns, insists his daughter Linda. “My dad was a very special man,” she says. “He made every single person he ever met feel special, no matter what their contribution.”
It was that personal touch that made all the difference in the early days of Operation Eyesight. “He and my mom used to sign every thank you letter that went out. My dad talked to everyone he could about the charity that had become his passion in life.” By the time Art passed away at age 83, Operation Eyesight had grown beyond his wildest dreams.
Today, 50 years after its founding, the entire Jenkyns family is still deeply involved with Operation Eyesight. For Art’s children, Tom, Linda, Arleigh, Bill and Jim, and 11 grandchildren, Operation Eyesight is still close to everyone’s heart.
“When we get together for Christmas or birthdays, we gather donations for ‘our’ charity in lieu of gifts. Some family members attend AGMs; many have paid for cataract surgery for someone they will never meet; several have supported drilling wells and others help in the office. One family member particularly enjoys public presentation, much like her grandfather, but everyone is involved in some way.
“Operation Eyesight is in our hearts and it’s part of who we are.”
The staff and board of Operation Eyesight congratulate each member of the Jenkyns family on this significant recognition. We offer our warmest thanks for their ongoing support and commitment!