Fashion and Philanthropy: Tailoring a Unique Annual Fundraiser

February 15, 2019

Kirsty Thomson’s passion for philanthropy has always been evident to her Raymond James colleagues. Now, thanks to the incredible success of Cherish, Kirsty’s annual charitable fashion show in Victoria, more people are taking notice. The Willow Wealth Management advisor has recently been featured in The Globe and Mail for her outstanding fundraising efforts.

“What started as a tiny idea has morphed into an event I could hardly think imaginable” explains Kirsty. Since inception in 2016, Cherish has raised an incredible $100,000 in support of two local charities, Victoria Women’s Transition House and Dance Victoria. By pairing fashion and philanthropy, Kirsty designed a unique event that both dazzles guests and delivers meaningful results.

Left to Right: Susan Howard, Executive Director for Victoria Women’s Transition House; Kirsty Thomson, Financial Advisor Willow Wealth Management; Kari McLay, owner of Tulipe Noir; Tess van Straaten, CHEK News anchor and MC; Stephen White, Executive Producer Dance Victoria.

Cherish is known for its elegant atmosphere and exceptional entertainment, but the stylish event started small, and was inspired by Kirsty’s genuine desire to give back. “I believe in helping women in our local community to get back on their feet,” explains Kirsty, “and I also believe in supporting the arts.”

With these charitable goals in mind, the Financial Advisor sketched out an idea for a unique and chic event that would both entertain and make a difference. In its first year, 175 guests attended the fashion show and raised $10,000 in support of Victoria Women’s Transition House.
The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, which motivated Kirsty to build on her success. Through collaboration with local businesses with big hearts, like-minded donors, and the creative force of Dance Victoria, Cherish has grown exponentially in just three short years.

In 2018, the sold out event welcomed 300 guests and raised over $60,000! Held at the Empress hotel, the luxury vibe was augmented with fashions provided by Tulipe Noire, Hughes Clothing, and Outlooks Menswear, and hair and makeup by Carreiro The Studio and Beautycounter. With Dance Victoria’s talented dancers modelling the outfits, the fashion show was a true performance.
Kirsty’s positive attitude and generosity shine through in every aspect of the event, inspiring others to give. “Kirsty Thomson is the driving spirit behind Cherish Victoria,” says Janine Davies, Executive Director of the Raymond James Canada Foundation. “We are so proud of her commitment to community and her passion for Dance Victoria and the Victoria Women’s Transition House. We are thrilled to augment her fundraising efforts with $10,000 in grants in 2018 to these deserving organizations.”

Kirsty Thomson, Willow Wealth Management and Kari McLay, Tulipe Noire Womens Clothing

Funds raised at Cherish will directly impact the community. Victoria Women’s Transition House provides emergency shelter, counselling, and support services for women and children affected by domestic violence. Dance Victoria produces world class dance performances, and coordinates dance education and community outreach programs.
“I am so proud of this event and the people who have worked with me on such worthy causes in this community” says Kirsty. “It is – quite simply – good for the soul.”

With guests already looking forward to another stylish and meaningful event, Cherish 2019 is shaping up to be a huge success!

You can read the full story at, or connect with Kirsty and the Willow Wealth Management team here.