A group of community builders so subtle they didn’t know about each other until they were gathered for an award nomination ceremony in downtown London.
These are the nominees for the 2014 Pillar Community Innovation Awards.
Pillar Non-Profit Network spokesperson Nicole St. John said Wednesday (Sept. 3) the nomination party at Goodwill Industries for the eighth annual awards to be held this November was abuzz with introductions and new connections.
“A lot of them have stories that the public doesn’t know a whole lot about,” she said. “It was great to be able to bring the finalists together today and seeing new relationships form between them (as they) recognized ways they could collaborate. That’s what’s exciting.”
The nominees are up for awards in four categories: innovation, leadership, collaboration and impact.
There are likely few organizations as innovative as 100 Women Who Care London. Just the second Canadian chapter of the start-up charity aggregator, they’ve raised almost $300,000 for other groups since forming in June 2012. They’re up agasint Coupons for Hunger and Don’t Forget Theatre in the Innovation category.
Former associate medical officer of health Dr. Bryna Warshawsky is up against a volunteer coach of the year in Jeff Flesher and Wink’s Eatery owner Dennis Winkler, who has made hiring people with disabilities a priority as a business owner for years.
In the Impact category, the El Sistema - Aeolian Hall Musical Arts Association music education program is nominated alongside the Community Liaison Program at N’Amerind Friendship Centre and St. Paul’s Social Services.
Under Collaboration, the city’s out-of-the-box homelessness strategy London CAReS, the Community Alliance for Development Disabilities and Autism and the Real Voice Project, which creates chances for young people lead change and grow their neighbourhoods.
Lissa Foster said chairing the selection committee for this year’s awards, expected to bring 800 people to the London Convention Centre on Nov. 19, was no easy task.
“If you have ever wondered if great things are happing in our city, wonder no more,” she said. “Reviewing the outstanding nominations for the 2014 Pillar Community Innovation Awards was an exercise in optimism.”
Pillar co-chairs Howard Rundle and Allison Graham will emcee the evening.
Award recipients will be announced the night of the event and will receive $2500 to be directed back to the registered charity of their choice.