“I commend all of you on the work that you do, day in and day out, that helps build a stronger, fairer community.”

Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto

We Sponsor Two Distinct Awards


Bhayana Family Foundation Awards (BFF)
for the frontline staff of United Way-supported agencies.
Manaktala-Bhayana Family Awards (M-B)
for the staff of the United Way itself.


Bhayana Family Foundation Awards
(BFF Awards)

The United Way/BFF Invisible Champion Awards recognize excellence in the form of Innovation, Creativity, Dedication, Team Achievement, Leadership and Community Partnership/Building for the professional staff of Nonprofit organizations. agencies.

  • In addition to a monetary award, both the award recipient and the organization receive a commemorative plaque.
  • The awards are primarily peer-nominated with a focus on frontline workers.
  • The awards are given annually to professionals or teams from at least 8-10 agencies.
  • Impact of the awards is evaluated by surveying the awards recipients, peer nominators and agency leadership.

View all BFF Award Champions

The Manaktala-Bhayana Family Awards
(M-B Awards)

The M-B Awards recognize staff of the host United Way who work to address community needs through their support of the social agencies. These awards celebrate excellence in the form of Innovation, Creativity or Dedication.

  • The awards are primarily peer-nominated.
  • The recipients are selected by a task group/committee of United Way staff representatives who review the nominations and make the final selections.
  • The awards are given to a minimum of two or more professionals or teams annually.
  • The impact of the awards is evaluated by the award recipients and their United Way through staff and management surveys.

“I really appreciated receiving a Building a Better UWTYR award. It made me feel very proud and very appreciated. I feel that these awards definitely create a culture of appreciation something that doesn’t happen enough for the not for profit sector. Thank you.”

– Recipient of M-B Award 

Award Details – UW Greater Toronto Award Details – UW Halifax


Award Ceremonies

The Award Ceremonies are often light-heartedly referred to as the “Oscars” of the social service sector. They have taken on a life of their own thanks to the superb organization of the United Ways and the presence of notable speakers like Hon. Margaret McCain, Hon. Late Michael Wilson, Hon. David Peterson, Hon. Michael Harcourt, Hon. Helen Jaczek, Hon. Senator Asha Seth, CBC anchor Wendy Mesley, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, former Mayor Hazel McCallion, and many notable MPs, MLAs and local city councillors. For the Award recipients and their Executive Directors, the ceremony provides public recognition that is both well-deserved and highly-valued in the sector.

Award Recipients and their Executive Directors value the public recognition.

View all Ceremonies

BFF Champions by Award Category


This award recognizes employees who are dedicated to the mission, values and goals of their agency and go above and beyond what is expected of them.

View Winners

Innovation & Creativity

This award recognizes employees who display creativity by introducing new ideas, services or practices. These individuals contribute innovative solutions to their organization by looking at new ways to achieve shared goals.

View Winners


This award recognizes teams who work toward a common goal. Together, these individuals demonstrate commitment to success through excellent and consistent performance.

View Winners


This award recognizes employees who make outstanding contributions to their broader community. They do so by recognizing, engaging and maximizing the potential of relationships with key external partners, such as residents, schools, associations, other agencies, businesses and funders.

View Winners

Team Achievement

This award recognizes teams who work toward a common goal. Together, these individuals demonstrate commitment to success through excellent and consistent performance.

View Winners


Recognizes an employee who demonstrates exemplary leadership capabilities and who consistently achieves superior team-based results. These leaders play an exceptional role in helping others contribute to their organization and advance its mission.

View Winners

Impact of the Awards

Every year, the Awards program is evaluated through qualitative surveys with recipients and agency Executive Directors. The results affirm the incredible impact the Awards have on the individual, the agency team, the culture, the organization and its standing in the community. Respondents often say that winning the Award increased their sense of pride and optimism about working in the human service sector.

Rahima Mamdani, United Way Greater Toronto’s Vice President  Human Capital reports that, “Recipients described feeling appreciated, proud and honoured to have won the award. A significant number astonishingly wanted to ‘work even harder, do more and improve their services to clients.”

Download the full report here

Quotes from the Organizations touched

Swipe to browse quotes

"From start to finish, I smiled and shed a tear as I was reminded and reflected on what is done by invisible heroes tirelessly, every day in support of communities and Nova Scotians."
—Natasha Jackson (Director, Communications Nova Scotia)
"What an inspiring group of winners. Made the day so up-lifting."
—Patricia Bradshaw (Professor at SMU, Event Organizer)
"On behalf of Autism Nova Scotia, thank you so much to the Bhayana Family Foundation, the United Way, CSCNS and the Province. This was a wonderful and inspiring ceremony, and such a meaningful award. Congratulations to all of the winners, and thank you for the important work you do."
—Robyn Bradshaw (Autism NS)
"Amazing stories. Amazing work. Such a motivating way to start the day. Congratulations to all the winners and to all of those who making a difference each and every day. You are all award winners."
—Vanessa Burns (Viewer)
"It was clear to see that a lot of time and energy went into making this a flawless online event. Congratulations to all of the 2020 Bhayana Invisible Champion Award Winners – Your commitment and dedication helps so many individuals in our community on a daily basis. Thank you also to the Bhayana Family for recognizing the value of the employees and volunteers of the not for profit Sector in Nova Scotia and the work they do in the community." —Bev Cadham (Previous Bhayana Winner)
"#Fleeforever we love and miss you so much. Congratulations! Even in death you inspire everyone. Super proud of you my bestie."
—Charnell Colley (Viewer)
"I wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks to you, The Bhayana Family Foundation and United Way for chosen our daughter, the late Felicia Brown-Colley, as a recipient of the Invisible Champion Award. Also, thank you to Trina for nominating her. The words were so beautifully spoken, it was truly an honour for her sons and our family to witness this special occasion. It gives us joy to know how much people recognized her love for community. Her presence will be greatly missed in our family and community. Once again, on behalf of my family we want to say a big Thank You!" —Claudette Colley (Viewer)
"Way to go Champions! Thank you for this amazing work in Nova Scotia!"
—The Honourable Andy Fillmore (MP, Halifax)
"This fantastic award is the only one we are aware of where an outside body celebrates frontline staff achievement and dedication. For our frontline winner it was the external recognition that we, no matter how much we appreciate her, could not convey alone."
"We have our staff's Leadership Award hanging on our wall in the main office to create a more positive work environment and a reminder that we are great together."
"Winning the award has enhanced the image and credibility of the organization."
"Morale increased significantly. Everyone felt appreciated and was amazed at the change in the organization – not just the winner."
"It motivated other staff to think 'outside the box' and propose 'creative and innovative' ideas."
"Really like the awards program as it's a great way to honour staff for ongoing and/or outstanding work. Thanks for giving us that opportunity."
"Overall thanks to everyone for this award. It is so rare that there is an opportunity to reward front line staff who give so much of themselves to their work."
"Loved the photos which followed the event. Felt very honoured at the event. thank you for organising!"
"I really appreciate you holding this event and providing recognition to people in the sector."
"The whole experience was unbelievable. Being nominated and winning the award was a shock! My win was well received by my peers and colleagues. The Bhayana Award renewed my drive and passion for what I do."
"I just wanted to, as always, tell you how proud I was to have our excellent and hard working workmates recognized in this way. Thanks for all you do!"
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We are calling for a Day of Recognition for the Nonprofit Sector in our communities.

  • Please join our advocacy campaign for a Ontario Day of Recognition for the Nonprofit Sector
  • You will make a difference.

Go to the petition

Canada’s First Day of Recognition for the NonProfit Sector!

Nova Scotia takes the lead in Canada to honour its Nonprofit Sector!

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