Senators turn to veteran executive Weir to fill senior role at new community foundation

Brad Weir pic
Brad Weir pic

A familiar face is back in the Ottawa Senators’ fold to take on a key leadership role in the club’s new charitable group.

Brad Weir is rejoining the organization as senior director of the newly formed Senators Community Foundation, the NHL franchise said Tuesday. 

The longtime Ottawa resident spent more than a decade in communications and marketing posts with the new foundation’s predecessor, the Ottawa Senators Foundation. The Senators Foundation officially ended its relationship with the NHL club at the end of July and now operates as the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation.

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Anthony LeBlanc, the Senators’ president of business operations, said he welcomed Weir’s return. 

“As with any successful foundation, it relies on the strength of its relationships,” LeBlanc said in a statement. “Given Brad’s long-standing working experience with many of the Canadian charities with which our new foundation looks forward to partnering, his transition to this new role will be seamless.”

Weir will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the not-for-profit organization. The club said he’ll work closely with executive director Chris Phillips and the foundation’s senior leadership to develop an annual plan and oversee the distribution of funds for charitable purposes. 

Weir will also help connect donors and corporate sponsors to particular programs and initiatives, the team said, adding the foundation plans to support local organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Roger Neilson House and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa. 

The new organization was launched after an acrimonious split between the Senators and the foundation that previously bore its name.    

The Senators Foundation said in early June that its relationship with the NHL club would end this summer. The team said then it planned to launch a bidding process “to explore alternative options to further its philanthropic endeavours.”

The hockey club said it had informed the foundation months earlier that it would invite other organizations to submit proposals to partner with the Senators on philanthropic initiatives. According to the team, the foundation’s leadership group “protested and informed the Ottawa Senators they would not comply with an RFP process.”

Glitzy fundraisers

The former Senators Foundation built a high profile in the Ottawa region, thanks to glitzy fundraisers such as the annual Sens Soir​ée and its work with endeavours such as Roger Neilson House, a hospice for pediatric palliative care at CHEO.

In the past five years alone, the foundation raised more than $31 million through direct donations, sponsorships, various events and sales of 50-50 tickets at Sens home games.

The organization also has strong ties to the capital’s business community, including through several high-profile board members such as chair Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, and vice-chair Ian Sherman, a partner in EY’s Ottawa office and the chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade.

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