Sean Simpson receives The Anita Robertson Legacy Award

​The Late Anita Robertson tragically passed away with her husband Joe and daughter Laura nearly two years ago, but her legacy lives on in Niagara.

Anita was a strong supporter of United Way and made a point to “plant seeds” of philanthropy wherever she went. Anita always talked of planting seeds and growing ‘good’ in Niagara during her tenure as 2015 Campaign Chair and in the years that followed as she served on the Board of Directors of United Way of St. Catharines & District and the Transition Committee that led to the formation of United Way Niagara. She had a passion for helping people and wanted to share her knowledge and lead others to do the same.

Anita believed in United Way’s mission with all of her heart, and made it her goal to learn as much as she could about the needs facing our communities and what United Way could do to help. She understood all aspects of our organization with an appreciation for the necessity of raising funds but also the importance of understanding where those funds would make the greatest impact.

After the family’s tragic loss, United Way established the Anita Robertson Legacy Award to honour her in perpetuity. This memorial award is presented annually to an individual or individuals that embody Anita’s kind heart and community spirit and who share her passion and drive to make positive change in Niagara.

The inaugural recipients of the award in 2019 were two inspirational women, and dear friends of Anita, who turned their grief into something beautiful by helping thousands in need. They carry on the work that Anita championed in her all too short life. Karen MacKay and Heidi Burgess, the recipients of the 2019 Anita Robertson Legacy Award, championed “The Anita Project” which supports women living in poverty, providing much needed hygiene products. Agencies from across the region have benefitted from this initiative, stockpiling hygiene kits and ensuring they reach the people who need them the most.

This year, United Way is proud to present the Anita Robertson Legacy Award to Sean Simpson, owner of Simpson’s Pharmasave. Sean’s leadership has had a profound impact on our success. Sean is a past United Way Board Member both pre and post amalgamation, serving as Board Chair of United Way of St. Catharines & District from 2014 to 2016 and as Campaign Chair from 2016 to 2018. He was the first last Campaign Chair for United Way of St. Catharines & District and the first Campaign Chair for United Way Niagara. Under his leadership United Way raised over $12 Million dollars. Sean also worked closely with his friend Anita on the Board and Transition Committee.

​“It’s a great privilege and honour to receive this award. Always brings back great memories of our dear friend Anita and her contributions. United Way is such a dear cause to me and we’ve seen, especially during this past few months, how much impact we have in this community across Niagara and I think we’re really pleased to see the connectedness across Niagara and that was something that Anita worked so very hard for and I’m very proud.” – Sean Simpson

Like Anita, Sean is always thinking of United Way and how he can help people in need across our region. Over the course of the last few months, Sean has come up with many creative ideas to benefit United Way. He worked to secure thousands of protein bars when bulk food buying was near impossible for our homeless population, donated 10% of online sales to United Way through the month of May and participated in a Crush the Curve campaign and chose United Way as the beneficiary. Sean’s support has been unwavering and this award is so well-deserved.

“Sean was an easy choice as this years’ winner. He has been such a wonderful supporter of United Way for many years and continues to bring new ideas to the table. Sean continues to embody Anita’s generous spirit through his work with United Way and we are so grateful.” Frances Hallworth, Executive Director​

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