This Wednesday, we celebrated the work of non-profits across Alberta and recognized the dedicated staff making a difference in their communities. Working with the Bhayana Family Foundation, CCVO, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, and United Ways across the province, we expanded this year’s awards to acknowledge the positive impact that non-profits have across all of Alberta.

The awards celebrate teams and individuals in two categories. Partnership, Collaboration, & Connection awards recognize unique efforts in creating partnerships and working with other groups to expand impact in the community. Innovative Leadership awards celebrate those who play an exceptional role in helping others, contributing to their organization to advance its mission through innovative approaches. For more information on each of the recipients, you can learn more here.

Attendees heard from Dr. Joel Christie, Chair of the Premier’s Council on Charities and Civil Society, on how the Council works with the provincial government to harness feedback from non-profits and charities to address community issues. The Council helps the government understand the barriers these organizations face and how to breakdown these barriers to ensure civil society flourishes.

The event also featured a beautiful performance from the Edmonton Cantilon Choir, made up of youth ages 9 to 12, and recognized as one of Canada’s leading children’s choral ensembles.

The Bhayana Family Foundation is focused on recognizing the contributions of the non-profit sector across Canada. Incorporated in 2006, the foundation partners with United Ways, provincial non-profit associations, and governments nationally to close the recognition gap for the sector. As the contributions of non-profits are often overlooked, the foundation aims to grow these roots in communities across the country.

Raksha Bhayana, CEO and co-founder, said, “We’re really excited to expand our national awards program to all of Alberta. The staff of the non-profit sector and their passionate commitment to creating social impact is the invisible scaffolding of our communities. Through their inexhaustible work, they transform lives and help clients reach their goals. There is no horizon too far and no barrier too high that they won’t leap.”

Karen Young, president and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area shared, “The social sector is an economic driver – contributing $192 billion in Canada annually, and accounting for 8.3% of our GDP. It is truly made up of invisible heroes – work that often goes unseen and unnoticed, but positively impacts thousands of people every year.”