Bhayana Family Foundation Awards recognize frontline heroes of United Way Greater Toronto's network of social service agencies

  • Five team and ten individual awards recognize leaders in the social service sector for their dedication, partnership, leadership, innovation and creativity

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2022 /CNW/ - The social service sector was essential to communities across Peel, Toronto and York during the pandemic; United Way Greater Toronto's network of agencies worked flat-out to meet urgent needs while also experiencing unprecedented demand. Last year, over two million people accessed programs and services from the over 300 agencies UWGT funds.

United Way Greater Toronto Logo (CNW Group/United Way Greater Toronto)
United Way Greater Toronto Logo (CNW Group/United Way Greater Toronto)

Today, the valuable contribution of those on the frontlines was celebrated with the Bhayana Family Foundation Awards, returning after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Ten individuals and five teams from across United Way Greater Toronto's network of agencies were recognized for their extraordinary efforts. The Bhayana Family Foundation presented staff with certificates of recognition and monetary awards, for these award categories: Team, Leadership, Partnership, Dedication and Innovation & Creativity:

Team Awards

Recognizing groups that demonstrate commitment to success through excellent and consistent performance, the Team Award winners include:

  • Creating Alternatives – Ensuring Service Continuity to Vulnerable Adults Team

  • East Scarborough Storefront – Food Systems Initiative Frontline Team

  • Hong Fook Mental Health Association – Culturally Competent Recovery College Team

  • Newcomer Centre of Peel – Rural Employment Initiative Team

  • Times Change Women's Employment Service – The Collective Team

Individual Awards

Partnership: Recognizing employees who make outstanding contributions to their broader community by acknowledging, engaging in, and maximizing relationships with key external stakeholders, such as residents, other agencies, businesses, and funders, the Partnership Award winners include:

  • Jules Montgomery, The Neighbourhood Group Community Services
    Coordinator of Drop-in Services

  • Madhuri Payidiparty, Volunteer MBC
    Coordinator, Community Connections

Innovation & Creativity: Recognizing employees who contribute innovative solutions to their organization by looking for new ways to achieve shared goals, the Innovation & Creativity Award winners include:

  • Juno Zavitz, Breakaway Community Services
    Program Coordinator, Grief, Loss and Wellness Initiative

  • Tejal Solanki, COSTI
    Regional netWORKS Program Coordinator/Youth Mentoring Coach

Dedication: Recognizing employees who are dedicated to the mission, values and goals of their agency and go above and beyond what is expected of them, the Dedication Award winners include:

  • Amanda Hadida, WoodGreen Community Services
    Social Worker, Financial Empowerment

  • Shashi Parth, Punjabi Community Health Services
    Program Support Worker

  • Andrea Des-Mondano, Youth Without Shelter
    Housing & Aftercare Coordinator

Leadership: Recognizing employees who demonstrate exemplary leadership capabilities and consistently achieve superior, team-based results, the Leadership Award winners include:

  • Junior Taylor, ACCES Employment
    Chair, Black Action Coalition for Change (BACC)

  • Deborah Jules, Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre
    Drop in - Manager

  • Lori MacLeod, Yellow Brick House
    Property Maintenance Administrator


"As we honour some of the invisible champions of the non-profit sector, it's important to understand their role in the city's well-being. There are more than 14,000 non-profits in Toronto that comprise eight per cent of our GDP. Non-profit professionals build the invisible scaffolding of our communities. Through their inexhaustible energy, they transform lives and help clients reach their goals."

Raksha Manaktala Bhayana, CEO and Co-Founder of the Bhayana Family Foundation

"Today and everyday, United Way Greater Toronto recognizes the incredible commitment and contributions of the social service sector to building a region where everyone thrives. From tackling food insecurity to employment skills, these individuals and teams from across UWGT's network of agencies, supported over two million people last year. We're so proud to recognize these outstanding individuals."

Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way Greater Toronto

About Bhayana Family Foundation

Incorporated in 2006, the Bhayana Family Foundation's mission has been to close the recognition gap that exists for charitable and non-profit sector employees in Canada. There is limited awareness of their significant economic and social contributions to Canadian society.

For more than a decade, the Foundation has sponsored high-profile national award programs to recognize staff excellence in the areas of leadership, innovation, dedication, partnership, community building and team achievement. The awards are affectionately known as "the Oscars" of the non-profit sector. To date, more than 1,500 outstanding staff from more than 350 organizations have been recognized in partnership with the United Ways in Greater Toronto, Lower Mainland (Vancouver), Halifax and Alberta. The Foundation also advocates for recognition for the non-profit sector at the provincial and national levels. Thus far Nova Scotia and Ontario have instituted Days/Week of Recognition for the Non-profit Sector. The Foundation is currently working with United Ways in BC and Alberta to advocate for similar recognition in those provinces.

About United Way Greater Toronto

As the largest non-government funder of community services in the GTA, United Way Greater Toronto United Way Greater Toronto reinforces a crucial community safety net to support people living in poverty. United Way's network of agencies and initiatives in neighbourhoods across Peel, Toronto and York Region works to ensure that everyone has access to the programs and services they need to thrive. Mobilizing community support, United Way's work is rooted in ground-breaking research, strategic leadership, local advocacy and cross-sectoral partnerships committed to building a more equitable region and lasting solutions to the GTA's greatest challenges.

SOURCE United Way Greater Toronto


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