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Remembering Dr. Sulley Gariba

The last couple of days have been difficult. Last night, we learned of the passing of our colleague—Dr. Sulley Gariba. Sulley was a truly unmatched leader. Wise. Passionate. Deeply committed to improving the lives, prospects, and fortunes of young people in Africa and Indigenous youth in Canada. Sulley served as our Head of Impact for just over a year—but his counsel guided the Foundation for years before he officially joined our team. Prior to his role at the Foundation, Sulley’s illustrious career had seen him serve as a senior presidential advisor, a diplomat, a senior lecturer, and a Board Member with several well-recognized non-profit organizations. He was highly esteemed in the field of evaluation, knowledge management, and learning. We were humbled to have him join us.

Sulley’s distinguished career set him apart. But his humility, wit, and love fostered connection, endearing him to many. For a number of us at the Foundation, he was not just a colleague and icon—he was a friend and faithful mentor. Gentle and firm. Gracious and honest. Hopeful and pragmatic. Thoughtful—but ever so humorous.

Sulley brought people together. Somehow that remains as true now as it was in his life. Today our hearts are heavy. We join in the grief of so many communities who feel indebted to his life and work, and grateful to have shared in and witnessed his journey. In the days ahead, we will look to his legacy and example to comfort, guide, and instruct us.

It is a special thing for a person to mean so much to so many. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family, friends, and all who loved him.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO