Tom Jackson, the multi-talented, much celebrated and acclaimed musician, actor and activist, is coming to the Cochrane RancheHouse later this month to help local charities.
The Cochrane Community Builder Award Gala is set for Friday, Oct. 28, at the Cochrane RancheHouse. This year's gala – “Tom Jackson – A life of Giving” will recognize Jackson for his ongoing philanthropic efforts in Cochrane and beyond. All proceeds raised will support the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank, the Cochrane to Calgary Trail Project, and the Rocky Mountain Rotary Club's Charity Fund.
A committee formed of Cochrane residents collaboratively chose Jackson as the award winner. Led by Dan Kroffat, the committee has chosen the past three recipients based on their commitment to building the community. Previous winners include Jack Tennant, James “Bearcat” Murray, and Alex Baum.
The actor, musician, and philanthropist's career is so long and laden with achievements that his website probably says it best – “Heck, he could be a pub night trivia category all by himself.”
At a news conference in Cochrane on Sept. 29, Jackson spoke quietly and humbly about his life of philanthropy.
“For me it’s a gift of giving. It’s about people who had the courage to come out with a voice and share it with others, that there was an opportunity in this world to create a verb called ‘love,’” he said.
“It’s what I do. It makes me feel important to the Creator.”
If you love your community, let it know, he added.
The Order of Canada recipient said philanthropy gives him a bigger high that anything he’s done.
“And it lasts forever,” he added.
Jackson was chosen this year because of his continued and overwhelming support of food banks. He leads the long-running “Huron Carole Christmas” concert tours for Canadian food banks and multiple other initiatives.
A portion of the money raised from this event will be donated back to the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank on his behalf.
Kroffat also wants people to know that the event is being done expense-free, so ticket buyers can know their contributions will all go to the charities themselves.
Organizers are looking for donations for both the silent and the live auction. They’re also looking for partners to help run the event, and as always, sponsors.
Anyone looking for more information on how to get involved or to buy tickets can go to rockymountainrotary.com or call Nicola or Mili at Cochrane Toyota at 403-932-9900.
Cocktails are at 6 p.m. and dinner will be at 7. Dress is semi-formal. The Cochrane RancheHouse is at 101 Ranchehouse Rd.
Jackson is known as much as an entertainer as a philanthropist. In 2018, he released The Essential Tom Jackson, a two-disc, 21-track retrospective spotlighting his talent as a folk-pop singer/songwriter. His website describes him as “an artist intrinsically linked to the world around him, both the real and the ethereal.”
His many TV credits include shows like North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law & Order and Red Earth Uncovered. His most recent guest roles include season four and six of Outlander, and season three of Cardinal.
His movies include the dark comedy thriller Cold Pursuit opposite Liam Neeson. Neeson is among a long list of onetime Jackson colleagues — also including but not limited to Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek in 2012’s Deadfall, Bruce Greenwood in 2005’s Mee-Shee: The Water Giant, and Bryan Brown in 1999’s Grizzly Falls.
In addition to all the success in the entertainment fields, Jackson finds time for extensive charity work. In 2020, he produced and hosted the online variety series “Almighty Voices” where artists and thought leaders delivered performances and messages to create joy, health, and dollars for Unison Benevolent Fund.
The “Huron Carole Christmas” toured virtually by Zoom in 2020 for various agencies as they searched for creative ways to connect and remedy a dramatic loss of donors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently an ambassador for the Red Cross, Jackson was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and in November 2020, he was promoted to Companion – the highest designation within the Order.
Multiple additional honours, including the 2007 Juno and Gemini Humanitarian Awards, Playback’s Radio & Television Hall of Fame, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, have been bestowed on him over the years.