Champion Stories

“Way to go Champions! Thank you for this amazing work in Nova Scotia!”

The Honourable Andy Fillmore (MP, Halifax)

Champion Stories: Enter a world of Innovation, Dedication and Caring

Congratulations to our award winners, the social architects who help people make transformational changes to their lives and build thriving communities. Read more about them and be inspired!

Here are a few of our featured stories. All stories are taken from the nomination forms.

All Award Winners – Stories that Spark a Smile

Explore our award winner stories by recipient name, by United Way location and/or by year. There are close to 1,000 stories (and counting!) that are sure to inspire.

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Your Champion Stories

Keisa Campbell United Way Greater Toronto Culture Champion Award Recipient

Keisa is recognized for her remarkable leadership in bringing an equity lens and focus to community investment, granting and evaluation processes. Her commitment to collaboration and passion for anti-racism work led to the development of our Community Investment Equity and Reconciliation Action Plan and formation of the Equity and Reconciliation Working Group. Keisa is a champion for equity, a model for authenticity and integrity, a trusted partner with all stakeholders, a mentor to colleagues, and an inspiration in many ways. Keisa demonstrates a strong desire to learn and grow. She dove deep into a comprehensive Community Investment Equity Audit, engaged in a literature review of best funder practices internationally, and contributed to a cross organizational team that secured funds focused on advancing equity in our community investments. Keisa presents hard, truth-telling data on long-standing inequities and systemic racism embedded within non-profit funding, and her notable achievements will lay the foundation for how we move forward.


Reta Red Sky Hamlin, Supervisor Native Child and Family Centre

Reta Red Sky Hamlin on Manitouland Island, close to her reserve Aundeck Omni Kaning. “Going home to our Ancestral land at least once a year helps keep us grounded and connected in mind, body, and spirit.”

As a deeply committed Supervisor at the NEW Mount Dennis Native Child and Family Centre she credits her inspiration to serve to role modeling from her parents. Her mother was a supervisor at the First Native Child Care Centre and as a toddler she spent 12 hours a day there with her mother absorbing all that her mother did to ensure excellence in the care. Phrases such as “You can do this” and “This too shall pass”-from her mother still resonate.

From the Heart: Words about and from our Award Winners

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"Those of us who are lucky enough to work with her know that she’s the definition of irreplaceable. She’s the epitome of dedication. She is the quintessential unsung hero. In nominating her for this award we hope that she finally gets her time in the spotlight."
"Before I entered Women Moving Forward, I was confused about how I was going to achieve goals in my life. While in the program, I realized that all the teachers never gave up on me. They always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. They gave me a drive to keep moving forward and never look back."
"His compassionate heart is the pulse of the organization."
"The program challenges all the negative stereotypes and helps to generate an awareness of the positive roles Black men contribute to society. . . We have seen fathers go from not saying anything to getting the resources they need to help their children’s development. . . It’s important that programs such as More Than a Haircut be recognized for their great community partnership work."
"She is the glue that keeps our organization running smoothly. Her smile and positive attitude help keep team spirits up in the face of any challenge."
"When we think of dedication, we think immediately of the unsung heroes of the non-profit sector. The people who work outside of the spotlight, whose contributions to an organization’s success are significant, but often overlooked. These people provide the solid foundation that every organization needs to achieve a meaningful impact."

Have you been helped by a human service champion? We would love to hear about it.

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