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.
Community-Building (C) Award
Adanech is one of the most dedicated community leaders, advocates and organizers. No matter the scale of the issue, she has been able to bring people together to find practical ways of helping, by mobilizing not just her own efforts but the entire community. This has been especially important during the pandemic where some communities […]Read the full story
Judit Kovacs & Team
Front-Line Innovative Leadership (C) Award
The Language Assessment and Referral Centre at Immigrant Services Calgary (CLARC) provides English tests for immigrants who would like to study in federally and provincially funded language programs or enrol in professionally related courses in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Before COVID 19, CLARC provided the Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT) in person in the […]Read the full story
Above and Beyond Dedication in Response to COVID-19 (C) Award
Fatima has worked for The Calgary Drop In Centre for quite a few years as a Case Manager however at the beginning of the pandemic, she realized that her knowledge and education in Health Care would be required. She, like so many of us over the last year, pivoted away from her position with the […]Read the full story
Front-Line Innovative Leadership Award
In March 2020, when Alberta went into lock down, Sagesse – like many other organizations – was forced to change their Direct Service programs. Sagesse offers in-person peer support programs. These programs are designed to be done with a facilitator and all participants in one room for a set amount of time each week. With […]Read the full story
Commitment to Person-Centered Practice (C) Award
Melissa Morrison is an outstanding youth worker at Avenue 15 who truly went above and beyond during the Covid -19 pandemic. Melissa wears many hats at Trellis. She is currently the Site Supervisor at Avenue 15, (was previously the resident manager at Treehouse (an apartment building for youth and families transitioning out of homelessness) and […]Read the full story
Community Development Team (Trellis)
The Community Development Program works in vulnerable communities at a macro level and strives to empower residents. Where community resources do not yet exist, the Community Development team works with resident groups and community organizations to create these supports. From there, the team helps engage, support and mobilize communities. The work is resident-led and feedback-informed. […]Read the full story
Commitment to Person-Centered Practice Award
Cathy Keough, Director of Counselling Initiatives at Calgary Counselling Centre (CCC) has put people at the heart of her work, adapting the way she leads her team of staff, and serves clients to meet their unique needs. Her commitment to person-centred care has been even more evident this past year while facing the challenges of […]Read the full story
Front Runners (Families Matter)
Partnership, Collaboration & Connection Award
When Covid-19 emerged, many kids may have found it initially exciting to have schools shut down, but the thrill did not last long. Growing numbers of children found themselves without physical connection to their important peers, and struggling with anxiety, isolation, loneliness, and depression. While some children have consistent support from responsive parents, others were […]Read the full story
Case Management Team (Homefront)
Partnership, Collaboration & Connection (C) Award
Frontline workers are at the core of HomeFront’s services and the work they do is incredibly impactful for families and victims of domestic violence in our city. The Case Management Team demonstrates partnership, collaboration and connection – this is central to success in the intervention and prevention of family violence in our city. HomeFront partners […]Read the full story
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.Search Winners
Your Champion Stories
Meet a Diversity Champion and Award Winner!
Keisa Campbell, Chief Diversity and Culture Officer, United Way Greater Toronto is recognized by the Manaktala Bhayana Spirit Award for “her remarkable leadership in bringing an equity lens and focus to United Way’s community investment, granting and evaluation processes.”
Keisa’s commitment to collaboration and passion for anti-racism work led to the development of United Way Greater Toronto’s Community Investment Equity and Reconciliation Action Plan.
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. A guiding motto for Keisa is: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”
Tell us more about your work?
Over the last year, I’ve been leading an initiative at UWGT aimed at i) assessing how equity and reconciliation practices are reflected in our grant-making and funds allocation, ii) developing an implementation plan that captures how UWGT will deepen our commitment to equity and reconciliation in our grant-making and funds allocation; iii) establishing a monitoring plan to keep track of UWGT progress implementing our equity and reconciliation plan.
What motivates you to get up and do what you do every day?
What motivates me is my desire to be a good ancestor. I keep photos of my grandparents on my work from home desk to remind me of all that they and my parents did in Guyana, South America to create a pathway for me to live the charmed life that I do here in Canada.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
This one year secondment as the Senior Manager of Equity and Anti-Racism at UWGT has taught me that I want to get more into working with non-profits to advance their equity and reconciliation practices. So, my favourite part of this job has been finding my calling.
What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you?
Based on research and interactions I have had with racialized people working in the non-profit sector (particularly Indigenous peoples), I’ve started using the language of justice and liberation instead of DEI. To me, justice and liberation speak to a world where being racialized, 2SLGBTQ etc. means that you have lots of access to the resources, opportunities and income to live your best life. That your social identity is no longer a barrier.
How does your organization champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in its work in the community?
UWGT working to advance on equity and reconciliation in the following ways: The board is looking at our governance policies and composition from an equity lens; Each department has established equity/reconciliation goals that they must deliver on over the next three years; a consultant has been hired to deliver mandatory Equity 101 and 201 training to all UWGT staff; we’re working with United Ways across Canada to develop an equity framework for Canadian United Ways to aspire to.
Do you have any advice for the rest of the non-profit sector on how to move the dial on anti-racism?
I recommend that non-profits review their governance, human resources, procurement, programmatic policies to identify if equity and reconciliation show up as a cross-cutting theme. Then, I’d suggest that staff at levels and the board reflect on the findings from this policy review and talk through/prioritize three ways they can deepen their operationalization of equity and reconciliation practices in their work. These three priorities can be embedded into the operational plan, implemented and reflected on quarterly to track progress. Overall, non-profits need to know the equity and reconciliation work is a long game – no shortcuts! A budget and staffing for this is ideal.
From the Heart: Words about and from our Award Winners
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