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Brian Smith honoured with Community Builder Award

Guests attend Gibsons gala virtually on Oct. 2
C.Gibsons Gala
Brian Smith was the recipient of the 2021 Darren Entwistle Community Builder Award, and the guest of honour at the annual gala on Oct. 2.

Persephone Brewing Company’s Brian Smith has joined the small league of locals honoured with the Darren Entwistle Community Builder Award since 2017.

On Oct. 2, Smith was the guest of honour at the annual Gibsons Community Building Society Gala Fundraiser. Ahead of the event, the Gibsons Community Building Society (GCBS) called Smith “a visionary leader and an accomplished entrepreneur and investor. 

“He brings innovative thinking and determination to his career defining focus on sustainable business and impactful economic development. Having founded and led successful non-profits, for-profits, and co-ops, Brian is uniquely skillful in a variety of models that can have positive social and environmental impact.”

Between 2011 and 2017, Smith was the executive director of Community Futures of the Sunshine Coast. Persephone Brewing Company, owned by Smith who is also the CEO, holds a B Corp status. Smith is no stranger to GCBS, having served as a volunteer co-founder, director and board chair between 2014 and 2017. Since 2015, Smith has been the chief executive officer of Rhiza Capital Inc. Just last year, Smith helped found the Community Food Box Program with One Straw Society. 

“It is my genuine honour to receive the Community Builder Award this year,” Smith wrote after the event.

“I’m deeply grateful to the giants on whose shoulders I’m privileged to stand – Pam Robertson, Darren Entwistle, Gerry and Nancy Zipursky, Errol Lipschitz and Judy Rother, Wayne Rowe and many more amazing volunteers, staff and supporters of the Gibsons Public Market and the Sunshine Coast writ large,” Smith said.

“It’s humbling to be considered among these exceptional people. Thank you to everyone who provided their support, generous words and love in the tribute video and, generally, in bestowing this award.”

Gala gone virtual

A face familiar to many on the Coast – and internationally – took on a new role as the emcee for the event.

Jackson Davies, known for his role as The Beachcombers’ Constable John Constable, “was extremely engaging and entertaining ... and he brought a lot of great stories of Gibsons and Beachcombers with him,” the society’s executive director, Vicki Raw, said. 

Davies and Raw were auctioneers, and Davies surprised attendees with an offer of a signed copy of his book and the last script for The Beachcombers, which raised $1,000. 

Raw said this year’s fundraiser was even more successful than the last, which was their first virtual gala. Funds exceeded the $50,000 goal, with the help of a donation match up to $20,000 from Bruce and Lis Welch. Lis Welch is chair of the society’s board of governors. Sponsorships also exceeded the targets set by the society.

The biggest change to the event, Raw said, was the new menu created by the chef of Emelle’s Market Bistro. This year, 250 of the 268 attendees opted to have the personalised gourmet meals delivered to them – an increase from 244 meals served in 2020.