An Edmonton woman well known for her philanthropy and leadership in the community has died.
Ruth Kelly was president and CEO of Venture Publishing, as well as publisher and editor-in-chief of the award-winning Alberta Venture magazine.
Kelly’s family released the following statement on Thursday morning:
“Our family is grieving the profound loss of Ruth Kelly. To us she was Ruth, a woman we loved, but to Albertans she was a distinguished business woman, a community leader, a philanthropist, and a role model.”
Kelly was also the publisher of Alberta Oil magazine.
She was heavily involved in the community, chairing Epcor’s Community Essentials Council, which directs the company’s philanthropic activities. She was also a member of the Alberta School of Business’s Advisory Council, the Alberta Promise cabinet, the board of directors of Magazines Canada and the Mayor’s Business Roundtable advisors for the City of Edmonton. In 2015, she chaired the Capital Region’s United Way campaign.
Mayor Don Iveson said Kelly’s mix of “pragmatism and vision is why she was able to create so much impact in her life.”
“Ruth was phenomenal, so this news is very sad for a lot of us,” he said.
“She was a mentor to me in many things and contributed a lot of leadership to the community broadly, and through the United Way helped change some of our thinking about poverty that inspired some of the work for End Poverty Edmonton. And it was as a business community leader that she was doing that in our community and so the loss is deeply felt.”
Journalist Paula Simons tells 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Kelly meant a lot to the city.
“I think she ought to be remembered for the moral leadership and the progressive vision that she gave to Edmontonians for many, many years, both through her publishing ventures and her public philanthropy.”
Kelly has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2013 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Organization award, which honours one of the province’s top female business leaders.
Watch below: Ruth Kelly explains the award program and what it represents
In 1998, Kelly was recognized as a Global Edmonton Woman of Vision. She was also a member of the Woman of Vision board of directors for over 10 years.
“She was quite instrumental in those early days in guiding the program,” said Global Edmonton’s Lesley MacDonald. “Ruth was kind of the go-to person that you went to when you had to deal with stuff.
MacDonald said Kelly was a “significant force” in the community who was always there when you needed to talk to someone.
“Ruth was such an influential, public, visionary, giving person; someone who was a mentor to a lot of us,” she said.
“Ruth was someone I could always call if I needed help. She would drop whatever she was doing and she would spend the time to help you deal with something if you were struggling with something.”
Watch below: Global Edmonton Woman of Vision Ruth Kelly
Kelly’s family has asked for privacy as they mourn the loss of an extraordinary woman.
A great loss for Edmonton. Ruth was a genuine leader; giving inspiration to @myunitedway & for #EndPovertyEdmonton. Our deepest sympathies. https://t.co/jtvn6znlMU
— Don Iveson (@doniveson) June 15, 2017
Alberta lost one of its biggest backers with @RuthatVenture’s passing. Sending love to her family through this terribly difficult time. #yeg
— Ryan Jespersen (@ryanjespersen) June 15, 2017
We will miss Ruth! She contributed with enthusiasm and spirit! Ruth gave willingly and actively – a role model in so many ways. https://t.co/B1LBYaKgQY
— Dave Hancock (@DavehancockQC) June 15, 2017