It’s a warm and sunny morning outside the doors of Canterbury Court; a perfect way to describe the early autumn season – and the friendly, glowing personality of Grace Gu. 

We caught up with Grace, Canterbury’s kind and efficient Payroll Supervisor, to hear about a wonderful donation she has gifted to the senior residents she loves seeing and interacting with each day.

“Before I came to work here, I had never been to seniors’ housing,” explains Grace, “and the residents here were so friendly and nice, they are like family to me.  I wanted to do something special and donate some funds to help them.”  

Moved by this personal connection, Grace was inspired to donate $600 of her own money to Canterbury last December.

Grace is humble about her generous gift, and says that it doesn’t matter where the money goes in the organization. She smiles shyly and says, “I just want to help the seniors, where help is needed most.”

Donating is important to Grace; it’s a way of giving back to local communities that helped support her and her young family as new immigrants to Canada.

In 2008, Grace and her husband took a courageous journey to Canada to give their son a better way of life.  But it wasn’t always easy. “The first year I came to Edmonton from China, I cried so much, I was home sick,” explains the mother.  “But when I took some English classes, I was very touched how nice everyone was to me, and how the Chinese community organization helped me in tough times. I thought, ‘OK, now I have a stable job, I think I can contribute back to this wonderful country.’”

Grace has had a strong and dedicated work ethic her entire life that has really paid off.  She originally earned a Bachelor of Accounting degree at university in China and worked at a bank.  Once in Edmonton, she upgraded her education with an Accounting Diploma from NAIT and became a Certified Payroll Manager through the Canadian Payroll Association.  Grace also worked hard to improve her English, and was a student of ESL classes at night.

After finding employment at a housing company she was hired by Canterbury in 2016 as the Payroll Supervisor.  Here at Canterbury, Grace manages all the important details of the payroll system including working with new employees and existing employee files and ensuring the two hundred staff are properly paid.  She is a bridge between the Human Resources and Finance Departments and assists with budget planning.   

Exceptionally strong in math and accounting skills, Grace’s diligence and attention to details makes her a valuable team member in the daily financial operations at Canterbury.  But in addition to Grace’s natural ability with numbers, she has a very friendly personality and gets along easily with others.  This compliments her enduring compassionate nature and sincere gratitude that keeps her grounded.

“I feel very fortunate to have a good job now.  I know I’m not rich, but I give what I can and want to set a good example for my son.” She also importantly recognizes, “When I get old, I would like this kind of help if I can’t work – I need someone to take care of me in return, someone in society that can help me too.”

Grace’s thoughtful generosity also extends beyond the doors of Canterbury.   She personally donated $200 to the Red Cross to help with COVID 19 relief for Chinese communities.  A recent board member with the East China Immigration Society of Edmonton, Grace also donated $200 towards a collective $15,000 donation the group raised last year to give to Edmonton’s Food Bank.  

Grace is also a talented traditional Chinese dancer.  She gave the special gift of entertainment to Canterbury residents through the same cultural organization, when she performed here with their colourful dance group for Chinese New Year activities.

Grace’s all around generosity keeps on exponentially growing.   She has just informed Canterbury that she will be giving another $600 donation again this December – and we are so excited that she has decided to renew her Annual Campaign gift!

The payroll supervisor understands the value of monetary donations – big or small.  “It doesn’t matter how much you give,” she says with conviction and a positive grin.  “Even if it’s $10 or $20 - it’s worth it and all together has a huge effect that seniors will appreciate.”  Canterbury would like to sincerely thank Grace for her uplifting sunny outlook on life, for bringing a smile to so many of our residents in the hallways, and for giving inspirational gifts from her heart that count in so many ways!

To learn more about supporting Canterbury Foundation, please reach out to Margo Buckley, Canterbury Fund Development Consultant, at 780.919.7295 or [email protected]