Cameron Knox MacGillivray, F.C.A., L.L.D. was born in 1905 in Chatham, Ont. Cameron MacGillivray spent most of his life in Hamilton where he had two distinguished careers. He was the founder and senior partner of MacGillivray & Co., Chartered Accountants, until 1972 when he retired and assumed the direction of The Hamilton Foundation for the next ten years.
Prominent on numerous local Boards and Committees, he served as President of the Canadian Club, Thistle Club, and the United Nations Association. In addition to honours accorded by his professional colleagues, McMaster University conferred an honorary Doctor of law degree in 1983 recognizing his business career and his extensive voluntary community service.
To those who knew him, Cameron MacGillivray was the original watch-every-penny man. No wonder people trusted him so much; he never strayed far from his chartered accountant’s financial prudence.
In 1971 Cam had just retired as founder and senior partner of MacGillivray and Partners when the esteemed Ellen Fairclough, HCF Board Chair, tapped him for a little project to keep him busy in his sunset years. She asked Cam to become the Executive Director of Hamilton Community Foundation – an unpaid position at the time.
The retirement project became a passion: Cam joined the Foundation and stayed for 10 years, helping to transform the still-fledgling organization into a substantial force in the community. Though on paper Cam worked three half days per week on Foundation business, he never stopped chatting up the cause.
“I know that in Cam’s very quiet but responsible way, he influenced a great many people who subsequently supported the Foundation and helped to build its resources,” says Judith McCulloch, who succeeded Cam as Executive Director in 1982, a position she held for 13 years.
“Cam was highly trusted in the community and I think it was that trust level that made a difference. If he said something was a good thing, people believed him.”
Though it’s more than 20 years since Cam officially retired from HCF, new bequests still flow in that date back to a conversation with Cam decades before.
Excerpt from 2003-2004 Annual Report