Yan Zhou works as a professional realtor and holds many titles. Over the past ten years, Zhou has been consistently giving back to the community. On June 24, he received the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Award for making a significant impact on and contribution to the Markham and Unionville community.
Given that there is always a bit of stigma attached to the real estate brokerage industry, such as the belief that they only care about money, Zhou said, he hopes to encourage more realtors to do more community work through his efforts, and hopefully it will improve the image of realtors.
Aside from being the vice-president of the Toronto Cathay Lions Club, Zhou is recognized as a member of the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation Fortune Leadership Council (MSHFLC).
Zhou’s contributions as a volunteer on behalf of MSHFLC date back to well before the pandemic.
“Over the last few years, Zhou has donated generously to our Fortune Leadership Council’s fundraising initiatives, as well as encourage support from other community and business leaders,” says Anita Mah, senior development officer of MSH Foundation.
As Ontario declared a state of emergency in March 2020, Zhou immediately co-ordinated with community and business connections to provide in-kind donations of urgently needed PPE supplies to the hospital in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"My suggestion is to donate according to your ability; even if it is not a large amount, consistency matters the most."
Zhou learned that MSH has a large proportion of patients whose native language is Chinese, and one of his goals is to help the hospital to provide Chinese translation assistance through fundraising, so that patients can communicate with doctors more smoothly.
On Nov. 27, 2021, Zhou founded a non-profit organization, Active Community Engagement (ACE) Ontario, aiming to serve the community, help younger generations to be more engaged in politics and increase participation in municipal politics.
“We are committed to providing a platform for all aspiring young people to discuss politics,” he said, adding that the importance of municipal politics is often underestimated compared to provincial and federal politics, and ACE will strive to help the community to be aware of municipal politics.
As per Winston Churchill’s quote, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Zhou said, in short, that “I would like to encourage more people to serve our community.”
Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun