2011 Spirit Awards
Celebrating excellence in community giving
Spirit Awards are given to organizations, campaigns, teams, and individuals who achieve outstanding results in their United Way Toronto campaigns. To be nominated is a remarkable achievement. United Way Toronto’s Spirit Awards recognize excellence in community giving among the dedicated volunteers, donors, labour and corporate supporters in the community. Everyone plays a vital role in helping United Way Toronto achieve its mission.
With 142 nominees in 15 categories this year, everyone showed creativity, ingenuity and wholehearted commitment to the cause. Choosing recipients was a difficult task for the Selection Committee. Thank you and congratulations to all nominees and recipients in this year’s Spirit Awards. Also, a special thank you to Scotiabank for generously sponsoring the evening. You can view photos from the evening and from the picture booth.
2011 Spirit Award Winners
Leadership Campaign Award
Awarded to an organization that runs an exceptional Leadership Campaign generating personal gifts of $1,000 or more using United Way Toronto best practices, including building donor awareness of United Way Toronto’s Community Fund, peer-to-peer canvassing, effective recognition, and improved results over the previous year.
Private Sector—$25,000 to $499,999
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
For the first time at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the Leadership Chair advocated the idea that Leadership donations are driven by personal choice, not by title or a higher pay band. This more inclusive Leadership campaign resulted in a remarkable jump from 106 to 150 leaders for 2011. As a result, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s campaign saw the organization’s greatest Leadership giving growth rate ever.
Photo: Michael Wissell
Kraft Canada Inc.
Kraft Canada grew its Leadership campaign this year with a highly personalized approach. A Day of Caring® involving two-thirds of employees clearly connected the impact of giving to the work of United Way. Immediately after, Kraft employees kicked off their pledge drive with great new Leader incentives and customized Leadership packages that included handwritten notes. Ambassadors were also equipped with new tools and creative recognition strategies to effectively canvass their peers. This best-practice campaign saw a more than 50 percent growth in Leadership donors and almost the same growth in dollars raised.
Photo: (From left to right) Mina Fior, Jack Hewitt and Irene Daley
Private Sector—$500,000 to $999,999
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
To lead the way, endorsing Leadership giving, Enbridge Gas Distribution’s Executive team visited a United Way agency, and for the first time, employees volunteered at Day of Caring® projects. The campaign committee created and played a video featuring employees from across the company, speaking in a variety of languages about United Way, which increased engagement in all levels of giving. In keeping with their Hollywood-themed campaign encouraging employees to ‘Take Action and Be a Star,’ they recognized all Leadership donors on a ‘Wall of Fame.’ Awareness building, canvassing, along with exclusive Leadership prize incentives, achieved an impressive 20 percent growth in Leadership donors and a 26 percent increase in Leadership dollars.
Photo: Samantha Schofield
Private Sector — $1-million plus
RBC and RBC Capital Markets
RBC and RBC Capital Markets brought donors closer to the story of United Way and its impact in the community with a variety of innovative events, tours and speakers. A direct dialogue between donors and agency Executive Directors highlighted emerging issues and how United Way dollars are so crucial to the response. A personalized approach and matching Leadership giving programs were leveraged to increase results. This dynamic approach saw RBC and RBC Capital Markets raise almost $6-million through Leadership contributions.
Photo: (From left to right) Jamie Anderson and Irene Sobolewski
Procter & Gamble Inc.
This year, Procter & Gamble brought on a Leadership Chair for the first to its campaign committee — and it worked. While all employees were encouraged to give at the Leadership level, the fundraising committee targeted potential donors with customized packages and amazing incentives. Strong Leadership giving ran right through Procter & Gamble’s campaign, accounting for more than half of pledges from employees and retirees. Leadership donations also increased by an impressive 39 percent this year.
Photo: (From left to right) Enzo Cerminara, Jeanette Rivers and Jamie Gargatsougias
Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade
This year, the Deputy Minister hosted a Leadership breakfast to help his colleagues learn more about United Way and the impact of Leadership giving. Determined to top last year’s results, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade employees cast their net wider and invited all staff members who donated over $500 in previous years to take part. As well, a successful poster campaign featuring staff from every level of giving helped make the Ministry’s Leadership campaign visible to all potential donors.
Photo: (From left to right) Morah Fenning and Robert Burns
Employee Campaign Award
Awarded to an organization that brings United Way Toronto’s campaign best practices to life, including effective awareness building of United Way Toronto’s Community Fund, successful canvassing, comprehensive recognition, and improved results over the previous year.
$25,0000 to $500,000
This year was one of transition for Coca-Cola — with a merger and fewer employees, they still held a strong campaign. Employees transformed this challenge into opportunity. The smaller employee base embraced the campaign wholeheartedly. Campaign is part of the culture at Coca-Cola and well supported by senior executives. More than half of Coca-Cola’s employees participated in Day of Caring® projects. Peer-to-peer, one-on-one canvassing, along with friendly competition, drove pledging. Employees also creatively leveraged a new event to raise even more funds.
Together they raised almost $144,000 — an impressive increase of 27 percent over last year.
Photo: Fiona Orr
$500,000 to $999,999
Suncor Energy Inc.
Suncor Energy implemented a year-round strategy to engage donors with United Way. As early as February, they invited speakers from several agencies to share the impact of their work in the city. During staff meetings, employees made the time to talk about needs in the community, further promoting participation in the fall campaign. For the first time, senior-level ambassadors, including vice presidents and directors, were responsible for canvassing their peers. Suncor had one ambassador for every 10 employees. The retiree campaign was also revamped to include speakers at events. In a year where the employee base was reduced, these initiatives helped maintain pledges and grow Leadership campaign results by 13 percent. By combining employee giving with their incredibly successful golf tournament — along with their achievement as the top fundraiser of this year’s Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way — Suncor Energy Inc. achieved a campaign total of almost $975,000 and a 70 percent participation rate.
Photo: (From left to right) Deborah Gullaher and David Fath
KPMG implemented strong strategies to achieve great results this year. KPMG acted as title sponsors of GenNext® Rouge again this year. As well, KPMG’s CEO and a Managing Partner took part in the Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way. The fundraising committee ran an exceptionally strong personalized Leadership campaign and made sure that every one of its 2,300-plus employees was touched by a United Way message. Last year, KPMG introduced an agency fair that resulted in a solid partnership with United Way agency Community MicroSkills Development Centre. Again this year, employees offered their skills and volunteer time to benefit our member agencies. They also incorporated an in-kind donation drive. Efforts to deepen employees’ understanding of the needs in our city resulted in a huge demonstration of generous giving. KPMG’s overall campaign raised nearly $2-million, almost entirely from employee giving, where the average personal gift per employee was more than $1,300.
Photo: (From left to right) Kate Heron and Kristy Carscallen
Employee Campaign Chair Award
Awarded to an Employee Campaign Chair who has run an exemplary campaign demonstrated by effective team coordination, successful planning and improved results over the previous year.
$25,000 to $999,999
John Macdonald of OMERS
A second-time recipient of this award, John Macdonald of OMERS embodies passion and commitment to making our city a better place to live and work. Retiring this year, he is leaving a legacy of genuine positive change in colleagues, and a more caring work culture. Five years ago, OMERS’ campaign goal was $100,000. This year they achieved six times that amount. John achieved this by setting clear objectives for fundraising goals, teamwork, education, gratitude, and leadership. He was actively involved in all aspects of the campaign — he canvassed alongside the ambassador team and even handed out flyers about OMERS’ big-ticket special event. John’s leadership and inspiration helped OMERS alone raise $600,000 and led the extended group of companies to reach $1-million.
Photo: John Macdonald
Martin Kearns and Zeeshan Shams of Procter & Gamble Inc.
Co-chairs Martin Kearns and Zeeshan Shams used their smarts to reconfigure aspects of an already incredibly successful campaign. They were even asked to share their strategies to benefit a number of other workplace campaigns in a completely different sector. In a critical year where Procter & Gamble’s employee base was reduced, they did the near impossible and grew participation and engagement rates. Willing to give everything they had, the co-chairs even performed a United Way rap at their well-attended campaign kick-off event. They showed off their talent and energized their colleagues to do the same. With an impressive incentive program, Martin and Zeeshan achieved over 60 percent participation on their first day of pledging. Their hard work and dedication paid off. Participation increased to 90 percent in Toronto, and with the proceeds of another hugely successful warehouse sale, they raised more than $1,200,000.
Photo: Martin Kearns
Ambassador Team Award
Awarded to ambassadors who implement United Way Toronto’s best practices, including building awareness and promotion of United Way Toronto’s Community Fund.
BMO Financial Group
BMO Financial Group showed their continued commitment as a strategic partner with United Way working to fight poverty, build communities and make change. Of 15,000 employees, 800 ambassadors stepped up. Almost everyone at BMO Financial Group participated in an agency tour or Day of Caring® project. This firsthand experience helped inspire employees to donate. After receiving extensive training, ambassadors tailored their canvassing approach to a variety of work environments and sites. Equipped with new tools, they were better able to support their colleagues through the giving process. After all this hard work, BMO Financial Group raised over $5,500,000 in pledges with more than 78 percent of their employees pledging, making them a leader of large institutions with such a high participation rate of employee giving.
Photo: (From left to right) Miada Neklawi and Donna Parish
Corporate Support Award
Awarded to an organization that demonstrates exceptional commitment to United Way Toronto through ongoing corporate giving, active support of their employee campaign, volunteerism, and corporate and community engagement.
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc.
Enbridge has demonstrated commitment to our city through corporate giving, active support of its employee campaign, volunteerism, and corporate and community engagement. Enbridge’s senior leaders even dressed up as Hollywood stars to launch their campaign on theme. By setting a good example, Enbridge’s senior staff made employees want to give more. As a longtime corporate supporter of matching employee giving, Enbridge amped up its efforts this year with a two-to-one match, resulting in a generous gift of $1-million. They even matched funds raised at the Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way. Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. has been the title sponsor of United Way’s largest community event, the Enbridge CN Tower Climb for United Way, for the past 10 years. Senior executives volunteered to solicit support from outside their own campaign. Finally, senior executive Janet Holder acted as United Way’s 2011 Campaign Chair.
Photo: Mark Boyce
Agency Campaign Award
Awarded to an agency that runs an exceptional campaign demonstrating support to United Way Toronto’s Community Fund and achieves a 10 percent increase in funds, as well as provides a minimum of three different types of support to raise awareness with workplace campaigns.
Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
This year, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office provided extensive support to United Way Toronto’s campaign in almost every way possible and helping to build awareness about the impact of our work in the community to workplace campaigns across the city. In its own agency’s campaign, they focused on one-on-one canvassing, and even encouraged pledges of over $1,000, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office’s workplace campaign achieved excellent results with increased employee giving. Staff members deepened their relationship with the clients they serve by involving them in their campaign — partnering with a nearby school and inviting community members to a staff lunch. Achieving an outstanding participation rate of 100 percent, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office increased funds raised by 60 percent for a total of $18,000.
Photo: (From left to right) Jennifer Rajaseker and Prince Sibanda
Joint Labour and Management Campaign Award
Awarded to a unionized organization that exemplifies collaboration and teamwork between the labour and management groups in running their United Way Toronto campaign.
Toronto Star with supporting unions GCC/IBT Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 100-M; Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 87-M; Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild; Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 500-G (including Photoengravers); and International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Local 235
With a strong committee made up union members and management, Toronto Star with supporting unions encouraged all employees to work together toward a successful best-practice campaign. Ambassadors asked their colleagues to ‘give a little bit more.’ They showed their commitment 24-7, hosting BBQs for every shift and raising awareness in every possible way. Despite a smaller employee base, workers achieved an impressive increase in the average amount raised per employee up from $165 last year to $209 this year.
Photo: (From left to right) Sanjay Agnihotri and Allan Sheldon
Student Campaign Award
Awarded to the students of a school who have run an innovative and successful United Way Toronto campaign.
Public Secondary School
Northern Secondary School
This year’s campaign held by Northern Secondary School was all about engagement and participation. Students set the bar with a standing committee involving every grade. They tweeted, they Facebooked, they won the Toronto District School Board’s United Way video competition. Every homeroom class at Northern Secondary ran their own fundraising project. Their strategy worked. Northern Secondary doubled the number of climbers that “conquered” the CN Tower and the funds to go with it. Collectively students raised over $20,000 for our community this year.
Photo: (Center, bottom row) Caroline Hayes and Billy Richmond
Private Secondary School
The York School
At The York School, it was all about inspiring students to participate in the campaign, motivating them to create positive change in our community. With a twist to their popular Prefect Auction, each of the students who participated represented a different service area of United Way. Talking about needs in the city while offering a range of fun activities to involve everyone, The York School successfully increased awareness and engagement. The small yet mighty student body raised over $3,600 for United Way Toronto.
Photo: (From left to right) Alisha Kapur and Emi-Lee Commisso