We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Harold (Sonny) Gordon, a core visionary of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation and life-long close friend of the Sauvé family. Sonny passed away at his residence in Florida on Saturday, June 6, 2020. He leaves behind a large loving family and circle of friends in Montreal, and around the world, who will mourn his presence. They are a testament to the remarkable, rich, diverse and inspiring life he led. We send our sincere condolences to his family and to all those who had the pleasure of knowing this outstanding man.
Sonny was among the most influential and core individuals in founding and expanding the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation. In his early adulthood, he worked as a ministerial assistant to Maurice Sauvé, Jeanne Sauvé’s husband, a Cabinet Minister in the Lester B. Pearson government. He came to be a close friend of both Maurice and Jeanne Sauvé, and was instrumental in developing and transforming the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation into what it is today.
Originally, Jeanne Sauvé created the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation in the 1980s as a forum for young leaders from around the world to come together in a series of conferences to discuss and think of innovative solutions to global problems. Sonny, who was also passionate about youth leadership and the future of Canada, joined forces with the Sauvés to re-imagine how the Foundation could have a more lasting and durable impact beyond annual conferences. After Jeanne Sauvé passed away, Sonny helped Jeanne Sauvé’s son, Jean-Francois Sauvé and his wife, Diane de Mailly-Nesle Sauvé, re-imagine the assembly format that had worked so magnificently for the young leaders of the post-war generation. Sonny thought that it was necessary to change to something more permanent and durable. He sought to create a new mechanism that encouraged the promotion of internationalism and youth leadership, both tenets of Mme. Sauvé’s life. They created the Sauvé Scholars Program, an in-house international leadership program based at the current Sauvé House at 1514 Dr. Penfield. Their intention was to follow Mme. Sauvé’s vision and create an incubator for leadership through a permanent forum that would offer exceptional young people the opportunity to come and live together, and work towards finding solutions to the major global issues of the day.
Sonny served as President of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation and Chairman of the Sauvé Scholars Foundation. His vision and development of the Sauvé Scholars Program, which later evolved to become the Sauvé Public Leadership Program, has had a tremendous positive impact on many lives around the world. Much of the success of the program and the Foundation can be attributed to Sonny’s diligence, hard work and vision. Today, the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation is proud to have engaged more than 800 next generation leaders from across Canada and over 70 countries around the world. The Foundation continues to support young change-makers from around the world who are globally-minded public leaders and game-changers.
We are deeply grateful and appreciative of Sonny’s outstanding and lasting contribution to the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation. On behalf of the Sauvé family and the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, thank you Sonny for your skillful guidance and leadership over the many years! On behalf of all the young leaders who have been transformed into global change-makers through their time at the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation, thank you Sonny! On behalf of all the people around the world who continue to reap the benefits from the social impact projects implemented and developed by the young change-makers through their time at Sauvé House, thank you Sonny! May your soul rest in peace.
Contributions to his memory may be made to the “Sonny Gordon Memorial Fund” c/o McGill University Foundation, (514) 398-5000, or to the Dunham House, (450) 263-3434 or visit https://www.dunhamhouse.ca/.