KESKUS gives our community rare opportunity to create a global bond for all Estonians
Building KESKUS will accomplish much more than creating a gathering space for people of Estonian descent – it will help forge a tangible contribution toward a civil society.
“This is so important, especially now, when there are many instances where it seems some have lost sight of decency and kindness,” remarks Koidula gild donor Lea Kõiv of Toronto. “KESKUS will tighten our bonds as a community.”
A civil society is defined as one where a wide array of organizations that have a presence in public life express the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations.
“Think back to how our parents’ and grandparents’ generations behaved; they were ethical, honest and without artifice,” she adds. “They understood the importance of building a strong community and how vital it is to contribute both time and money as best you can.”
Lea increased her original donation and calls on others to do the same
Lea, originally a Viru vanem donor to KESKUS, has increased her donation to the Koidula gild level.
“Costs have escalated due to the pandemic and the resulting inflation, and I want to help meet these challenges. I’m committed to seeing the facility being completed,” she explained. “I am one of many Estonian Canadians who has done well and I call on others to increase what they can give.”
Lea remarks that she is fortunate in that her education has provided her with a skill set that allows her to serve the community. She studied commerce and finance at the University of Toronto, and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. She worked for many decades in senior positions with international accounting firms and a number of large corporations. Since 2016 she has owned and operated a financial consulting practice, counselling her clients primarily on taxation and retirement planning.
She has both Certified Management Accountant and Chartered Accountant (now Chartered Professional Accountant) designations, also the Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations.
Community service is a way of life
“I am proud of my service to our community,” she said. Lea was recently appointed to the board of Estonian Arts Centre and is a long-time member and former chair of Northern Birch Credit Union. She previously served on the boards of EERO (Estonian Ecumenical Relief Organization) and Abistamiskomitee (Estonian Relief Committee). She is very interested in music, having studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and sings in Estonia koor.
Strong Estonian connections run in the family Lea’s son Kalle Amolins has completed his degree in Kinesiology, and is currently in his third year of medical school in Dublin at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
“I am extremely proud of Kalle - he understands that citizenship comes with both entitlements and obligations. He chose to do his ajateenistus (military service) in Estonia, and served in the Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion in Võru.”
Lea’s husband, Tiit Romet, is also a Viru vanem donor to KESKUS. Tiit studied physiology at the University of Toronto and started his career in the federal government as a research scientist with National Defence. His work took him to Ottawa where he recently retired from the civil service.
Tiit has one son, Indrek. Indrek graduated from McGill with a BSc in psychology. Indrek has spent a considerable amount of time in Estonia, including in his younger years playing soccer and representing Estonia in the European Under-17 championships.
Lea’s parents Ants and Salomia Kõiv are from Tartumaa and Pärnumaa respectively. Her mother came to Canada via Sweden, having fled there in 1944. Her father served in the military and came via Germany and England. They met in Canada and married in 1952.
Her sister Lena Koiv and husband Alar Prost, who live in Trent Hills, Ontario, are also Viru vanemad donors to KESKUS. Lena has served on the internal audit committee of Eesti Maja for a number of years. Lena graduated with an MBA from Queen’s University and, after a long career in finance and audit, retired as Chief Audit Executive for the Public Service Commission of Canada. Their two sons, Tõnu and Ülo, both live and work in the Greater Toronto Area.
“It’s so important for the Estonian diaspora to preserve its language and culture for the future in a country that welcomed us all with open arms. Becoming Viru vanemad donors is Lena and Alar’s way of cementing this future for forthcoming generations.”
It’s important that KESKUS welcomes all
“I would like KESKUS to have a ‘big tent’ approach; a place that welcomes our entire community. We cannot insist that fluency in the language defines who is Estonian - we need to welcome all those of Estonian descent as well as families of those who have married into the community or are otherwise connected.”
Lea believes getting involved in KESKUS, both as a board member and a donor, is “a call to duty.”
“My life has been enriched by belonging to the Estonian community, and Canada has been very good to us. I want to give back to subsequent generations so they have the same opportunities I did.”
All KESKUS valued donors make a critical difference
Please join our growing list of capital campaign donors. The KESKUS International Estonian Centre’s donor categories are Kalevipoja laud for gifts over $100,000 (including naming rights for specific areas), Koidula gild, which is from $50,000-99,999, Viru vanemad for gifts of $10,000-$49,999, and Kungla rahvas for gifts up to $10,000.
To make a donation, please call +1.647.250.7136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All Canadian and U.S. donations will be issued a tax receipt.KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.
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