Meet Taimi Hooper, Donations Manager for Estonian Arts Centre

Update #141

All with Estonian roots and connections will feel welcome at KESKUS

Family photo
From left, Taimi holding Kaja, Maali & Sean Hooper

Taimi has always been devoted to helping build the Estonian community. “Growing up, I spent four out of seven days a week in Estonian activities,” she laughs, “summers were at Estonian camps. Being Estonian defined who I am, and I’d have it no other way!”


As Donations Manager for Estonian Arts Centre (EAC), the charity associated with KESKUS International Estonian Centre, Taimi is the first point of contact for donors via phone or who approach KESKUS via the donations@estoniancentre.ca email address. She facilitates EAC donations including the tax-advantageous gifts of securities, ensures all gift agreements are in place and that receipts are issued and donations tracked.


Her contribution to the KESKUS project took a special and emotional turn during the “Tere, KESKUS” fund-raising campaign in June 2021.


“Finding out I was pregnant during this intense 3-day campaign brought it all home for me,” Taimi said. “It’s just so important to realize that we are building this Centre for our kids.”


Taimi second daughter Kaja Sidney with husband Sean Hooper was born on February 21, which also happened to be Family Day holiday in Ontario. Daughter Maali Elsa is six and proving to be a wonderful big sister, Taimi reports. Kaja’s middle name is in honour of her great-grandfather Sidney Hooper and Maali’s is for her great-grandmother Elsa Lindre.


Taimi's grandparents, Elsa & Bruno Lindre (left) and Roman & Leida Marley (right)


Taimi’s parents are Katrin (Kati) Marley and Toomas Marley of Toronto. She has two brothers, Allan and Paul. Paul has been living in Estonia since 2011, and Allan lives in Ontario. All have become donors to support the KESKUS project.



It’s important that we each give to the best of our ability


“The project is so grateful for every donation – whether it’s a couple of dollars from a piggy bank to the hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions that other donors have contributed. It’s important that we each give to the best of our ability.”


(The piggy bank example arose during the “Tere, KESKUS” campaign: two enthusiastic young brothers Markus, 7 and Felix, 4, of Toronto donated $2 and $1 respectively from their personal finances.)


Taimi said the launch of the capital campaign was an exciting time, with close to $3 million raised in just three days.


“Estonians and friends of Estonians really came through, and donations poured in from all over the world. It was just incredible, with messages coming in about how excited donors are about the project, and watching the campaign reach and then surpass the goal set for that part of the campaign.”


“And now, with what is happening in the world, we again realize how fragile freedom can be and how it can be threatened and even taken away so suddenly,” she said. “I hope that we are able to help bring people together and unify our community even more, so that we can ensure its longevity.”


The whole family is getting involved with KESKUS


Taimi is also principal at Porch Light Media, an event planning company based in Cambridge, Ontario. Sean is very much involved in the Estonian community as well, and helped set up a time-lapse video of the KESKUS construction journey that will be posted to the KESKUS website from time to time. Sean’s company Carbon Arc Projects provides video support for virtual events and large scale video production management.

Big sister holding baby sister
Maali holding her new little sister, Kaja

All things Estonian continue to flow in Taimi’s blood. In addition to managing the Estonian Arts Centre donations she is on the board of, and is an instructor with, the folk-dancing group Kungla in Toronto. Paused due to the pandemic, the group hopes to resume dancing this fall.


Maali will go to Estonian school, and is signed up to join “hellakesed” (Brownies) next year.


“She has already said she would like to become an Estonian language teacher!” Taimi said.


Taimi notes that it’s important that all those with Estonian roots and connections will feel welcome at KESKUS, saying “just because someone doesn’t speak the language doesn’t mean they can’t be involved and proud of their heritage.”


“KESKUS will be just that – a place that brings us together and gives us a modern building that is purpose built for us, relevant for this day and age and for the future.”


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 donations@estoniancentre.ca. 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.


To follow the construction journey and for KESKUS updates: