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Photo of Katie Taylor & Neil Harris

All of the sudden, as I carved out time for this community work, I realized how important United Way is to the fabric of our society.

Katie Taylor’s relationship with United Way began unexpectedly. At 39, her then-employer, Four Seasons, had nominated her for a Top 40 Under 40 award.

It’s a prestigious program that identifies outstanding young achievers in Canadian business. At her performance review, her boss let her know she wasn’t selected, and he wanted to talk about why.

“He said, ‘although you knock it out of the park when it comes to your professional credentials and accomplishments, you’re not spending enough time giving back to the community’,” recalls Katie.

That’s when Katie decided to volunteer her time as Four Seasons’ United Way employee giving campaign chair and join the Major Individual Giving Cabinet. Before she knew it, she was also involved with The Tomorrow FundTM, United Way’s endowment that ensures long-term community resiliency and promotes bequest giving.

“All of the sudden, as I carved out time for this community work, I realized how important United Way is to the fabric of our society.” Although that was over two decades ago, leading by giving back still rings true for Katie—now Chair of the Board of Royal Bank of Canada—and husband Neil Harris, Senior Tax Counsel with Goodmans LLP.

The couple are acutely aware of the need to support their community, particularly at a time when COVID-19 has created even more challenges for those who were already living in poverty.

“There are people who are falling through the cracks even with the current income support programs provided by the government. That’s why community organizations like United Way need to be there to take care of those people and to support the long-term stability of the social services sector,” says Neil.

Bequest giving is one of the many ways the couple is partnering with United Way to invest in the future of the GTA, ensuring no one is left behind because of postal code or circumstance. “Planning for a bequest that will benefit future generations has been a valuable conversation for our family,” says Katie.

The couple agrees that, if you are fortunate enough to be successful and secure, it is a great time to make a commitment to giving back, both now and in the future.