Orr Family Fund
Critics may argue the term “visionary” is overused in philanthropic circles, but there is simply no other word to describe the depth and power of the Orr family’s support for the community of Stratford.
From the first Thomas Orr, who arrived from Philadelphia in 1855, to today’s great-great-great grandchildren, the family has worked tirelessly and selflessly to help make Stratford what it is today.
The best-known example of this is probably our unique and beautiful riverside park system, famously saved from the rail industry at the turn of the twentieth century by R. Thomas Orr, son of the first Thomas.
But even this is only a small example of the family’s legacy of public service. Family members have served and supported almost every foundational institution in the city, including the Stratford Festival, the hospital, the library and the museum. Also the art gallery, humane society and chamber of commerce, the Stratford Rotary Complex and almost every minor sport association in town.
When the region sought to join the community foundation movement in the early 2000s, it was natural to ask the Orrs to join the effort. They responded magnificently, with brothers Jeff and Rick establishing a donor-directed family fund to support projects for the betterment and improvement of the City, and sister Nancy serving seven years with the Foundation’s board.
Sadly, the family lost another beloved patriarch with the passing of the fourth Thomas Orr, known to all as simply “Tom,” in 2018. Although the Orr Family Fund was never meant as a legacy project, the siblings admit it’s taken on a different feeling since Tom passed away.
“We were touched and honoured when some gifts were made in Dad’s memory by people outside the family,” says oldest brother Jeff. “It seems perfectly fitting that we’re all working together to build something that will help Stratford forever.”
To donate to this fund, complete the form below.
“Do the best you can with what you’ve got, where you are.”
~ R. Thomas Orr (1870 – 1957)