News & Media


Nova Scotia Makes Canadian History: Canada’s First Day of Recognition for the Nonprofit Sector

It was a day to remember. On October 14, the trailblazing Province of Nova Scotia created Canadian history when the Hon. Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed that day as a Day of Recognition for the Nonprofit Sector. It was a first for our country.

Nova Scotia’s Former Lt. Governor, Myra Freeman, raised the commemorative flag at Province House and was a masterful MC for the awards ceremony that followed. Twenty award recipients were selected from more than 6,000 nonprofit organizations to win the  Bhayana Foundation Invisible Champions Awards. Their stories of creativity, leadership and dedication were inspirational.

Thanks to the Province of Nova Scotia and Minister Leo Glavine’s Department of Communications Culture and Heritage, United Way Halifax and CEO Sara Napier, and the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia with Chair Pat Bradshaw for their hard work and imagination in organizing this successful event.

Nova Scotia’s leadership is generating momentum across Canada. We are getting inquiries about creating Days of Recognition in two more provinces! This is exhilarating, and we are ready and willing to help make it happen. Our Foundation has a strategy and a range of templates that emphasize flexibility and customization for each province. Let’s get going!

Why is recognition important?

Why do most people leave their jobs?

Stereotypical wisdom puts it down to difficult and demanding bosses, an offer of higher pay, or to gain a promotion.

However, when I began research on employee recognition, I was amazed to discover that lack of recognition is one of the top three reasons why people exit their jobs.

Recognition for performance is one of management’s most potent tools for motivating employees, and paradoxically, one of the most underutilized. Giving special attention to employee actions or performance meets an intrinsic psychological need for appreciation that is consistent with Maslow’s hierarchy.

Recognition drives performance and inspires people to do more. Together, recognition, engagement and performance form a self-reinforcing system – a virtuous circle.

It is astounding that over two-thirds of employees do not feel engaged at their workplace according to a recent survey. But in organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement and performance are close to 15 percent higher than in companies that do not recognize employees.*

Meeting the need for nonprofit recognition

When I moved from the nonprofit sector to the corporate sector, one of the things that surprised me was just how many recognition platforms there were for professionals in for-profit sectors. While employees may not get enough recognition, formal programs and awards typically exist.

Yet the people who are the social architects of our communities go unacknowledged. Their contributions are widely unknown. Invisible.

 This quote from the Calgary Social Voice says it well:

“No one has their finger on the pulse of the community like human service agencies and their staff. Every day, the staff work quietly, out of the limelight, and often for less pay then private sector jobs. They do it because they care, because they possess the talent creativity enthusiasm. It is vital that we recognize these efforts and take a moment to say thank you.”

When we created our Family Foundation, we made it our mission to celebrate the accomplishments of professionals in the nonprofit sector.

Join our campaign!

If you would like to join the advocacy for a Day of Recognition for the Nonprofit Sector, please do visit our website at Or you can contact me at You will make a big difference!