In the mid-80s, Bob White was walking down Toronto’s Bloor Street with a friend who worked at an agency. All of a sudden his friend stopped and said, “Can we cross the street? There’s a guy begging at the corner and he used to work for me.”
“It was a really stark reminder that life can be like that,” said White, who soon after became an ambassador for the National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS), which offers counselling, financial help and other services to those in need in the marketing and communications industry.
More than a quarter century later, White has been named the recipient of the 2012 Paul Mulvihill/NABS Heart Award, which honours those who have made significant contributions to the lives of others, through NABS.
White joined the NABS board in 1988 and was chair from 1995-1997. Following a hiatus from the organization, he returned to the board in 2003 and has been a member ever since. Over the years, he’s served on many committees including those for the NABS gala, fundraising, executive and strategic planning.
“He’s totally dedicated to the cause,” said Jim Warrington, executive director of NABS. “He has been doing this for so long and he is unwavering in his passion for the cause.”
“[The award] means a lot to me because I’m contributing to an industry that I know and love,” said White, who was senior vice-president at Audit Bureau of Circulations (now Alliance for Audited Media) from 1990 to 2009. White now does consulting work.
“Everybody can write a cheque, but if you can actually see the tangible results of [the work] you’re doing, that’s really fulfilling.”
White will formally receive the award at a NABS holiday party on Dec. 6 in Toronto.
Established in 1998, the award carries on the work of the Paul Mulvihill Charitable Foundation, which contributes $10,000 annually to NABS in the name of the award winner. The award committee is comprised of both NABS and Paul Milvihill Foundation board members.