“In a world where it is impossible to imagine that I can make any difference at all to the way things go, I choose to say that I can make a difference. Believing makes all the difference.”
Ann’s years of support for her communities include the co-founding of two not-for-profit foundations, her being appointed to the Order of Canada for (among other things) “her sense of social awareness to people of all ages and backgrounds”, and her being honoured with Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, for outstanding and exemplary contributions to her community and to Canada.
Ann was raised with a strong community service ethic, and has followed that path throughout her life. Many of her activities are provided quietly, behind the scenes. She has also donated concert fees, and performed for free at numerous benefits in support of causes to make the world, and its communities, a better place.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Member, Order of Canada
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal – for service to Canada
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal – for outstanding and exemplary contributions to the community and Canada
YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Arts and Culture
A firm believer in the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child, Ann is proud to have sponsored several young African girls to complete their schooling. It has been a joy for her to watch them grow and blossom into strong young women.
When Ann herself was a young woman, she rolled up her sleeves and volunteered for several months with Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy at the House of the Destitute and Dying in India.
At the other end of the spectrum, she co-created two foundations to effect high-level change.
The Somerset Foundation, co-founded in 2001 with her brother, Peter Mortifee, supports social innovation and service in the environmental, social justice, health and educational sectors. To date, the foundation has provided support to over 60 social purpose organizations. Sectors impacted by this support include protection of natural ecosystems, eyesight restoration, responsible investment and youth empowerment.
In 2003, Ann co-founded, with David Butterfield, The Trust for Sustainable Forestry in support of healthy forests for a healthy world. Its first project, EVERWOODS, is a 150-acre eco-forest community on Cortes Island, with 15 home sites, a timber mill, organic gardening, and almost 94% of the forest remaining in sustainable eco-forestry.
Ann does not limit her support to the activities mentioned. In her words:
“In my life I’ve seen people up against tremendous challenges and have come in contact with organizations doing remarkable work to help. Some of the organizations I’ve been privileged to lend a hand to include:
Amnesty International; Big Sisters; Covenant House; Department of Peace; Greenpeace; Innocence Lost Foundation; National Alliance of Musical Theatre; PETA; Power of Hope; Seva; Sisters of Mercy; SMILE; SOS Children’s Villages; SPCA; The Land Conservancy of British Columbia; UNESCO; World Wildlife Fund, and the YWCA .
What blessings they give to the world! We can all use the gifts we were born with to help make the world a better place.”
Ann was deeply inspired by the lives of Steven Biko, Nelson Mandela and many others who stood against apartheid in South Africa, the country of her birth. She wrote her musical, When the Rains Come, in the hopes of adding to the groundswell that called for human rights to prevail.
Her album, Serenade at the Doorway, was written to help the dying and people who found themselves in a deep life transition, such as the loss of a loved one, a relationship, work or a dream.
Ann`s outstanding efforts on behalf of her communities led to her receiving the top honour bestowed to civilians by the federal government. Her membership induction to The Order of Canada, was accompanied by these words:
A Vancouver songstress and songwriter, she has a marvellous vocal range that thrills listeners while her emotionally powerful poetry is deeply stirring. Multi-talented as a composer of children’s musicals, scores for ballets and scripts for stage and television, she offers music therapy to disabled persons and a sense of social awareness to people of all ages and backgrounds. Her concerts benefit a wide range of worthy causes from the peace movement to environmental protection.