Gennum founder, philanthropist, Dr. Wally Pieczonka named 2017 Philanthropist of the Year

Burlington, ON – April 18, 2017 – Thoughtful, humble, caring, giving. These are just a few traits that describe Burlington Foundation’s 2017 Distinguished Philanthropist of the Year.

Today, the Foundation is extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Wally Pieczonka has been named Burlington’s 2017 Distinguished Philanthropist of the Year. Dr. Pieczonka will be honoured at Burlington Foundation’s Share to Care gala on October 21, 2017, at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

“Wally Pieczonka is the epitome of a distinguished philanthropist,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation.  “A long-time friend of the Foundation, Wally has a strong belief in giving what you can to support areas of passion and the needs of the community and its citizens. Wally is generous of spirit and continuously illustrates acts of kindness for the betterment of humanity. We are truly delighted to honour and celebrate his legacy of giving and broad social impact.”

The Distinguished Philanthropist of the Year award, presented by Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, allows the community to publicly honour and thank a noted philanthropist for their positive impact on Burlington and surrounding communities.

Wally, who has resided in Burlington for over 55 years, is a retired engineer and scientist and founder of Burlington-based Gennum Corporation. Through establishment of the Pieczonka Family Foundation and the Mavis Pieczonka Memorial Fund held at Burlington Foundation in honour of his late wife, Wally continues to have an incredibly positive impact on the arts and education sectors. In addition, Wally’s passionate support of vulnerable youth and mental health provide Burlington and the surrounding community with impactful, sustainable gifts to help those in need.

Numerous organizations have been beneficiaries of Wally and his family’s generous giving including Art Gallery of Burlington, The Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Burlington Foundation, Joseph Brant Hospital, Symphony on the Bay, Hamilton Philharmonic, Royal Botanical Gardens, the University of Saskatchewan and McMaster University, to name a few.

Over many decades, Wally has also contributed his time and talents through tremendous community leadership and mentorship. He was a founding member of the Burlington Foundation Board and has served on numerous Boards in philanthropic and governance roles.

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this award from Burlington Foundation,” says Wally Pieczonka. “Our family is committed to supporting numerous sectors and areas of need. Among these are the arts which are a universal language and glue bringing people and communities together. The arts are woefully underfunded by governments and are most in need of philanthropic support.”

“Contributing to community needs is a part of my life and I hope this award helps inspire others to give brilliantly.”


Media contact:

Dave Bennett, Xposure PR

(905) 339-6668


Selection Criteria

  • Sharing of Time, Talent & Treasure:
    • Time: defines the nominee’s commitment to volunteering their time to improve our community
    • Talent: defines the nominee’s position in our community as a leader willing to dedicate their expertise or particular skillset toward a philanthropic goal
    • Treasure: defines the nominee’s history of financial commitment of giving to our community
  •  Involvement in a variety of organizations and sectors in Burlington and beyond
  • Role as an advocate for charitable initiatives and community building
  • Relationship and support of Burlington Foundation
  • Number of nominations received

 Philanthropist of the Year Videos








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