For nearly 20 years, Furniture Bank has been in the business of making life a little easier for people and families transitioning out of homelessness by providing them with used furniture and household goods. This innovative social enterprise also offers job training and placement opportunities for individuals facing barriers to employment. In the past year, the agency has developed creative new approaches to fine-tuning their services. This includes improving the agency’s information systems to identify high-demand items such as mattresses and then working with manufacturers to meet this need. This past summer, the agency was able to increase the number of furniture pickups (and the total number of items in each pickup) by partnering with other organizations. It’s this out-of-the-box thinking and agency-wide passion to make a difference that is driving incredible results for the people Furniture Bank helps every day.
To quote one of Furniture Bank’s community partners: “Under Executive Director Dan Kershaw’s leadership, particularly in the last year, the organization has taken this orientation toward creativity and innovation to the next level. Furniture Bank is now known in the sector for constantly pushing boundaries to deepen their reach and impact.”
2017 Greater Toronto Bhayana Family Foundation Awards
Recognizing the extraordinary staff of United Way-funded agencies who make a difference every day.
Date: May 2017
Venue: Telus House
Keynote: Hon. Margaret McCain
Attendees: MPP Raymond Cho
The Bhayana Family Foundation recognizes the contributions of frontline staff at United Way agencies
Awards honour social service workers for their dedication, innovation and creativity, partnerships, leadership, and team achievement
May 24, 2017 – Today at Telus House in downtown Toronto, a total of 12 awards were presented to outstanding individuals from United Way Toronto & York Region agencies. These frontline workers represent the best of community builders and leaders who have demonstrated dedication, innovation, partnership, collaboration and teamwork in the social services sector.
All were nominated by their peers and recognized at The Bhayana Family Foundation Awards ceremony made possible thanks to the generosity of Madan and Raksha M. Bhayana. Awards founder Raksha M. Bhayana was present to honour the recipients. Event sponsor, TELUS, supported the awards ceremony by providing the event space and hosting the luncheon.
“The staff of United Way funded agencies are extraordinary. They are deeply caring individuals with a disciplined approach to supporting and enhancing the quality of life for a wide range of individuals and communities. Children, adults, seniors people with mental health issues, individuals with developmental disabilities, women who have been physically or sexually abused, amongst many other people in need, are assisted with expertise, knowledge, and a passionate commitment to make a difference,” said Raksha M. Bhayana, Founder, The Bhayana Family Foundation Awards. “They are driven by ideals, enthusiasm and deeply held values. They are often paid less than people in the private sector. We need to recognize the incredible social and economic contribution they make to society and create greater public awareness of their incredible work.”
United Way has been a proud and supportive partner of these awards for nine years. The Foundation is also in partnership with the United Ways of Lower Mainland, Peel Region and Halifax to recognize excellence amongst the staff of their funded agencies.
“At a time in our city and region when we see more and more people struggling to make ends meet, the nominees and recipients of this year’s awards are truly superheroes. They’re in the frontlines working hard, and inspiring a collective, United Way uprising of care that touches the lives of so many of our residents each and every day,” said Daniele Zanotti, President & CEO, United Way Toronto & York Region.
The impact of these cash awards and recognition is also significant, as recipients are inspired by the opportunity to raise awareness on their important, community-building work.
“I’m so thankful for this special recognition. We work in a sector that faces so many challenges, and these awards create a positive space where we can be supported and encouraged to continue despite the daily obstacles,” said Allison Haskins of Big Brothers Big Sister, York Region (winner in the Dedication category).