“I want the things I do to have an impact - to have a ripple effect.”

24 April 2023

Neil Salsbury, Bachelor of Education, 2002, has always known that he is passionate about helping others. He grew up in a small town in rural Alberta, where community giving was a big part of the culture.

His mother was an avid volunteer and he remembers his father lending a hand to neighbours during the harvest season. “It was an unwritten thing. We looked after people.”

These days in his role as Division Manager at IG Wealth Management he helps his clients plan for their future and reach their financial goals. He is also a committed volunteer and philanthropist for the causes he cares about.

One of which is the Fyrefly Institute for Gender and Sexual Diversity (previously the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services), a program run through the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education.

“When I saw the work that the university was doing in the community, I knew this is what is important to me. I can support this 24 hours a day.”

As a member of the community, Neil sees the need for 2SLGBTQ+ youth in Edmonton and rural Alberta to have access to support resources.

The Fyrefly Institute provides critical support programs and resources to 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

Neil served on the board for several years and continues to help through volunteerism and fundraising.

Their most popular program is Camp Fyrefly, a place for youth across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, to be themselves, feel supported and learn leadership skills.

Another large project is The CHEW Project, an outpost for homeless 2SLGBTQ+ youth. “To see children as young as eight years old just breaks my heart. This is a really great initiative.”

And a program that Neil helped bring to fruition is Brite Line, a support line for 2SLGBTQ+ people of all ages, created in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Neil has also created the Salsbury Trust which will help support the causes he cares most about into the future. This includes a bequest to the Fyrefly Institute.

It’s important to him that the causes he cares about the most have the financial backing they need for years to come, ideally into perpetuity.

“At the end of the day I want a legacy that continues to help my community,’’ says Neil. And he is passionate about supporting work that will effect long-term change. “I want things that will create positive social change. That’s what I’m here for.”