National Recognition Awards

June 26, 2024

  1. André Mailhot Award: Greg Wengreniuk, Cabinet Volunteer (Edmonton, AB)
    • Greg’s extensive involvement with United Way and in his community demonstrates his lifelong dedication to philanthropy and making a positive impact.
    • For nearly a decade, Greg has played a crucial role in leading Engineering Days of Caring (EDOC), an initiative where engineering firms unite to apply their expertise to support United Way of the Alberta Capital Region through workplace campaigns and an annual community impact project. The collaboration has resulted in 15 successful projects and over $24 million funds for United Way since 2006.
    • Greg’s leadership on the EDOC steering committee has been instrumental in its growth, as he invests significant time and effort into project preparation, execution, and follow-up, ensuring their successful completion.
    • Greg has also been an integral member of the United Way Cabinet for the past decade, presently serving on the Corporate Solutions Cabinet. Through collaborative efforts with fellow members, Greg leverages his network to strengthen corporate relationships, opening doors to business development opportunities.
    • He is also a community-driven individual.
      • He opened and runs Greg’s Bike Shop, which improved life for his neighbourhood by offering free repairs, maintenance, and bikes to Ukrainian newcomers.
      • He also provides motivation and encouragement at the school track & field day each year by running the 400m and 800m.
      • In the past, Greg has also assisted multiple schools, such as the Edmonton Catholic School District.
      • When the war in Ukraine forced many of its citizens to flee, Greg opened his home to a family and provided them with all the necessities and assisted a second family with their settlement.
      • Greg served as the Chair of the Board of Directors for ALBERTAForward from 2015 to 2017, a nonprofit organization focused on developing young leaders.
    • He is considered an inspiring peer, an outstanding individual, a shining example of unwavering dedication.


  1. George Hart Award for Excellence: Karen Young, CEO United Way, Calgary & Area
    • Karen has devoted her life and career to building stronger communities, and her genuine passion for Calgary has inspired everyone she encounters!
    • She is a strategic and visionary leader who has fostered a culture of learning and excellence within UWCA, where staff are encouraged to grow, innovate, and make a difference, in support of her vision of developing an outstanding workplace where everyone belongs.
    • Karen has made a unique and lasting impact on UWCA over the last ten years that she has been with the organization. She has transformed UWCA from an umbrella fundraiser to a true social impact organization, launching several Signature Initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of social issues.
    • Karen played a pivotal role in landing UWCA’s second-highest fundraising campaign in history in 2023, raising $58.1 million. The deep relationships she has fostered with the donor community speak volumes about the way she inspires others, and the respect and admiration she has earned. Calgary’s business leaders often come to her seeking strategic counsel.
    • Most recently she spearheaded Planet Youth Calgary, a transformative initiative aimed at improving outcomes for youth. Over $24 million has been raised for this initiative so far, including a $10 million transformational gift, showcasing Karen’s exceptional ability to mobilize resources and inspire community impact.
    • Karen has been a genuine and strong leader in the creation of UWCA’s Akak’stiman (A-gog-shti-man) strategy, advancing equity for Indigenous communities, and as a result she was gifted a Blackfoot name in 2022 from local Elders.
    • Notably, Karen led the organization through the Covid-19 pandemic, inspiring the team during a time of uncertainty with her steady leadership, and creating the UWCA Covid-19 Community Response Fund, which raised and distributed over $13M to 181 local agencies in an incredibly timely way.
    • From a governance perspective, her collaborative and inspiring nature has enhanced the effectiveness of the Board significantly during her tenure as CEO. The Board has become more inclusive and welcoming, and they have now achieved gender parity.
    • She has worked tirelessly over the last decade in pursuit of advancing United Way’s objectives and continues to inspire all those around her to do the same. As a leader of great distinction, she enhances the brand and efforts of the United Way movement across the nation.


  1. President’s Award for Innovation: Sara Napier, CEO UW Halifax
    • An Impact Leader, Sara Napier has served as United Way Halifax President & CEO for close to nine years, during which she has guided the organization and community through an unprecedented level of growth, change, innovation, and effectiveness.
    • In March 2020, Sara led the establishment of the first COVID response fund in the United Way Centraide movement, called the Atlantic Compassion Fund. This fund, kicked-off by a $100,000 donation secured by Sara, reached across the Atlantic provinces, involved the strategic coordination of leaders and staff across the region, led to immediate, tremendous impact in community, and over time grew to $10 million.
    • Sara ensured the impact and investment in community was equitable and guaranteed for communities harder to reach and traditionally undeserved, such as the historic African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, and immigrant communities.
    • Her leadership fundamentally has changed the way United Way Halifax is viewed, increased its relevance across the region, and demonstrated its power to bring people together to respond to a crisis.
    • Sara’s innovative visionary approach allowed her to spearhead many other initiatives including:
      • Leading the integration work for Maritime United Ways to ensure they achieve increased local and regional impact.
      • Establishing the Halifax Regional Municipality and Shelburne County Wildfire Recovery Fund within 48 hours of the wildfires breaking out and devastating communities in our province.
      • Developing strong relationships with different orders of government and various public servant and political leaders, elevating the understanding of United Way’s work and partnership.
      • Co-Chairing the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference held in Halifax in November 2023.
      • Building out United Way Halifax’s work in housing to include more tangible projects such as the Halifax Regional Municipality Community Land Trust and the investment in micro-shelters.
    • Sara is a world class leader who has worked hard to lay the groundwork for remarkable changes and innovations culminating in the last few years.


  1. UWC Leader of the Future Award: Jennifer McEathron, Director of Community Impact & Engagement, United Way Central New Brunswick
    • Jennifer McEathron’s impact at United Way Central New Brunswick has been profound since her student internship.
    • She quickly transitioned from a learner to a leader, demonstrating a keen understanding of the organization’s mission and values.
    • Her journey evolved into a starting role as a campaign administrator, where she inquired about long-term donor strategy, UWCNB’s process for donor stewardship and recognition, the organization’s approach to community impact, and much more.
    • In October 2022, when UWCNB’s executive director took leave, Jen’s lines of thinking switched to action. She stepped up to manage community impact while continuing her campaign responsibilities. Her proactive approach and strategic thinking led to significant improvements within the organization.
    • As the community impact lead, she revitalized the Community Impact Committee (CIC), bringing in diverse perspectives and increasing collaboration among members.
    • With a positive, collaborative, forward-thinking demeanour, Jen exemplifies United Way’s commitment to the community, to donors, to agencies, and the general community.
    • She is a believer in everything United Way signifies, and her grace, warmth, intelligence, humour, wisdom well beyond her years, and commitment shine in every interaction.
    • She is absolutely a leader of the future for United Way!


  1. National Partnership Builder Award: Hamilton Steelworker’s Area Council, Hamilton, Ontario
    • Hamilton’s United Steelworkers (USW) share a long, respectable history with United Way. The relationship is entrenched in a common goal to care for the community and work to ensure that no one is left behind.
    • The Hamilton Area Council brings together the local Steelworker unions to unite in common goals, one of them being on how they can work to collectively support our community.
    • When it comes to workplace campaigns, product drives, volunteering, raising awareness at special events, the Hamilton Area Council is there, organizing, raising funds, promoting and building community.
    • For over 30 years, The United Steelworkers’ impact is seen across the Hamilton region. They engage their members in the core union activity of protecting wages, jobs and families and proactively reaches out to materially assist the sick, he laid-off worker and those without work.
    • In the recent years, this Council has promoted all that children can be by purchasing thousands of backpacks and stuffing them with school supplies for distribution in the most economically distressed neighbourhoods.
    • They support as well local food banks and the city’s emergency food system with donations of goods and money.
    • The council is a primary champion of community inclusion working diligently to counter all kinds of discrimination.
    • The Hamilton Steelworker’s Area Council is a long-established and energetic locus of activity in the city. Its engagement with United Way continues to proclaim the vital value of partnership to tackle de needs of communities.
    • A Hamilton Steelworker’s Area Council representative could not be here this evening, so accepting on their behalf we welcome Gillian Surette-Robinson, Senior Manager, Labour Community Services at United Way Halton & Hamilton.


  1. National Community Championship Award: Findhelp | 211
    • Findhelp 211 is been the front door of community service information and access in Toronto since 1952, from the hard copy blue book to launching 211 Toronto in 2002 – the first in Canada, and then expanding that network and service delivery systems at regional and national levels.
    • Notably, as a strong partner of United Way Centraide Canada, Findhelp/211 was instrumental in enabling the 211 expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Findhelp | 211 is a United Way Greater Toronto funded anchor partner that plays a critical  role in community dispatch for the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Crisis Service, a first of its kind non-police-led, free, confidential, in-person mental health support from mobile crisis worker teams.
    • FindHelp 211 is a service that helps connect everyone in the community which is especially important in rural area which often do not have the resources needed close at hand.
    • Findhelp 211 is a shining example of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and generosity for all those working to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
    • On behalf of Findhelp | 211, we welcome Executive Director Sue Wilkinson to receive this award.

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