The Secret To Happiness

by Josh Kerr | Apr 14, 2023


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After three years, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba Luncheon in support of the Women's Endowment Fund returns to the calendar Friday, May 12, 2023, at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

We are thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker for the 2023 JFM Luncheon, Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances and renowned philanthropist. Jim's ongoing work with refugees from Syria, Ukraine, and many other war-torn countries is second to none. Believing that we can all do something to improve our community, no matter the scale, Jim is taking steps daily to help improve the lives of those around him.

We recently sat down with Jim to ask him a few questions about his philosophies on philanthropy and making an impact.

You've now helped settle hundreds of refugee families in Canada. Can you describe your feelings when the first family touched down in Canada?

In 2015 I could see what was happening on the news, which caused me angst. I started thinking, 'what could I do to do something?' Of course, I would want to stop the war, but that is beyond my capability. I learned Canada has a private refugee sponsorship program, so I found out I could sponsor refugees and started doing that. It took over two years for the first families to arrive, so there was a lot of hurry up and wait. When the first families came, seeing the smiles on people's faces felt so good. They were so relieved and so happy to be here, and it filled my heart with warmth.

Tell us about your continued efforts with these families after they arrive.

It is vital that families are properly settled. Things like: finding a dentist, finding a doctor, registering the kids for school, getting bus passes, riding the bus with them and showing them around the city. Nothing can be missed, so we have a long checklist that we go through every time. For each family we bring in, we have four or five mentor families who work through the list. We keep up with the families and see how they are doing. It's supporting people through a hard time. During that first month, it's intense, but after that, it all eases off.

If people are hesitant and think, "what impact can I really make?" How would you respond to that?

The key is that everyone should give within their means. Whatever is meaningful for a person is meaningful for them, and does their part. It doesn't matter what cause it's for; you should give something back. Everyone in Canada is exceptionally fortunate; we wake up in the morning in a safe place. We are all blessed, and giving back some of what we have, no matter the scale, gives us a feeling like nothing else can. Don't be shy about how much you can contribute. Do something on your scale.

Recently, you posted the following quote: "Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it." – Gautama Buddha. Would you say you've found your purpose?

I have spent a lot of time on purpose. My purpose in life is to help as many people as possible achieve their greatest potential. Recognizing that as my purpose filters how I spend my time and energy. To achieve my goals, I also need to expand my platform.Coming to speak to people as I will at the Foundation luncheon helps me accomplish that. If I talk to 100 people, I hope that those 100 people will leave with the inspiration to do just a little bit more.

What do you hope that attendees take away from your keynote at the luncheon?

I will be successful as a speaker if people change one thing they're doing. It can be now or any time down the road. That is done through true inspiration. I won't give you the secret now, but I will share the secret of happiness at the luncheon. I believe that if people come and learn this secret, they will, in turn, lead happier lives.