MONTEGO BAY, St James — Philanthropist Katrin Casserly, who has spent decades in service to others, is hoping her induction as an honorary fellow of the Montego Bay Community College (MBCC) will inspire others to give back.
Known best for her almost two decades at the helm of Hanover Charities, the non-profit arm of Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Casserly has played a vital role in providing financial support for MBCC students over the years. For academic year 2019-2020, Hanover Charities provided $866,188 to students of the Montego Bay-based institution.
"We're extremely honoured, humbled, grateful and proud because it shows the work we do — the team at Hanover Charities…translates to others recognising that we are really assisting to give our young bright minds the footing in this world out there by extending the support we can with our scholarships. We're really proud that they recognise that," she said after receiving an award during the school's recent graduation ceremony.
"I think it can inspire other donors to set up their scholarship funds or to give more or basically just take on, privately or personally, a small amount of scholarships they can afford. I know that we've [already] inspired others," she said.
Hanover Charities, she added, wants to do even more.
"I am hoping that we can look at next year as a pre-COVID period where we can go back to our traditional fund-raising patterns…Of course, we're going to give more scholarships, we got almost 300 applications this year but we cannot fulfil them all," she pointed out.
She is hoping others will come on board.
"We are now looking, in the next months, to set up our alumni group, the Hanover Charities Scholar Alumni group. Because we are seeing that we have individuals from the programme out there who have professional jobs, who are in the working world and making a mark as well. We want to rein those back in to give back in a different way, where they can become mentors, for example," she stated.
She added that they are also looking at how they can work even more closely with the MBCC "to impact it positively".
Casserly's work as a philanthropist is well known. She is a previous recipient of the NCB Foundation's Nation Builder Award and in 2018 she received the Citizen of the Year Award — Kiwanis International Eastern Canada and Caribbean. Austrian by birth, she has served as the honorary vice chancellor for the country's consulate since 2006 and promoted to the honorary vice consul for Austria to Jamaica in April 2018. In 2019 she was appointed chairman of the board of directors for Esher Primary School in Lucea, Hanover. She is also founding and board member of Hanover Hope Foundation.