A Legacy of Caring

ECF Board Secretary Marshall Shoctor, Q.C. was inspired by the community contributions of his late father, Dr. Joseph H. Shoctor

It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Edmonton didn’t have a thriving theatre community, but in 1965, the city welcomed its very first professional theatre. Situated in the former Salvation Army Citadel building downtown on 103 Street, the aptly named Citadel Theatre became a beloved institution in Edmonton and the hub of the city’s burgeoning theatre scene.

Marshall Shoctor Q.C. was just 10 years old when he became one of the first to step foot in the new theatre, touring the renovations over several months and attending opening night with his father and mother, Kayla. Dr. Joseph H. Shoctor was a renaissance man who juggled careers in law and real estate with theatre arts (specifically acting, directing, and producing). He was also a philanthropist and community builder who recruited three prominent friends in the city to buy the aging building on 103 Street and transform it into a formidable theatre, becoming its founder and executive producer.

As Marshall watched his father in action, he developed not only an appreciation for performing arts, but for community service. “Both my father and mother believed that if you do well by the community financially, socially, or culturally, you need to find a way to return what’s given to you, whether by volunteer work or philanthropy or creating organizations,” he says.

As an adult, Marshall followed in his father’s footsteps. While acting wasn’t his forte — “I acted in a musical production for my father when I was seven, which was both my debut and retirement as an actor,” he laughs — volunteerism and philanthropy, and a career in law, have suited him well. For decades, Marshall has served on The Citadel’s boards of directors and governors (including stints as president and chair, respectively), and donated his legal expertise, volunteered within the Jewish community (including a term as President of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton), and canvassed door-to-door for various charities. Marshall also gives back financially. In 2010, he worked with his mother and the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) to help create a donor advised fund that supports a wide range of causes and organizations that are important to his family.

Now Marshall is deepening his ties to ECF by serving as secretary of the board and a member of the governance committee: “It’s been on my radar for more than 10 years, but I parked it until I had law behind me and more time to do this work.” He appreciates that the foundation has a wide reach in the community and allocates funds with input from both the board and donors. The cherry on the cake is ECF’s skillful management of its activities and finances, he says: “It’s a very impressive and well-managed organization.”

With extensive experience in non-profit governance and plenty of legal know-how, Marshall has a lot to offer the organizations he works with. Even so, he stresses that his volunteerism isn’t completely altruistic: “There’s great satisfaction in seeing what an organization can bring to the life of the city and if you can participate in that actively, you become part of the engine that drives the community.” This is why Shoctor hopes his children will one day chart a similar path: “I think it would be wonderful for them.”