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2015 Community Achievement Night Gala

A True Celebration of Community

Over 250 people from all walks of life gathered together at the Cambridge Armenian Hall on Thursday, February 25th for United Way’s 4th Annual Community Achievement Night. Hosted by emcee Susan Cook-Sheerer of Rogers Daytime and sponsored by a number of local organizations, including title sponsor Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, the event was a celebration of the people and organizations whose actions over the past year have helped to improve lives in the Cambridge and North Dumfries community.


A number of awards were presented over the course of the evening to recognize the many different ways in which people have been giving back to and through the United Way. This included awards for exceptional volunteers who generously donate their time, knowledge, and skills to help make a difference; corporate partners of the United Way that went above and beyond to support the annual fundraising campaign; and local partnering agencies whose dedication to providing effective and responsive services impacts tens of thousands of people in our community year after year.


A complete list of award recipients is available below. While every effort was made to acknowledge their individual contributions, the ultimate goal of United Way’s Community Achievement Night was to celebrate the collective and cumulative impact we are able to have when all our efforts come together. An animated video at the end of the night artfully showed how the individual contributions of every donor, volunteer, advocate and partnering agency of the United Way culminated in 894,620 of volunteer time over the past year and $2,207,713 of funds raised so far toward the annual fundraising campaign.


“What an accomplishment,” Susan Cook-Sheerer exclaimed at the end of the night. “This is what possibility looks like in our community.” Many in the audience later commented that they not only felt acknowledged and appreciated for their own contributions, but also humbled and inspired to be in the company of so many others who are making a real and significant difference in our community. One event attendee put it best when she said, “for such a large event, the ‘common cause’ felt heartfelt, intimate, and sincere.”


But what seemed to steal the show last night were the videos that told the powerful stories of three individuals in our community who are living proof that, with determination, grit and the right support, even the things we think are impossible can indeed become a reality. Directed by Cambridge-based visual content creator Ben Knechtel and produced by Particle Films, the videos clearly illustrated the tangible impact that our collective efforts have on real lives right here in Cambridge and North Dumfries.


United Way Cambridge and North Dumfries would like to thank everyone who attended last night’s Community Achievement Night and everyone who rallies with us every year to create positive change in our community. We are honoured that you choose us as your partner. We would also like to thank our event sponsors Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Royal Bank Canada, KPMG, Direction Printing & Communications, Grand River Brewing, Energy+ Inc., BGM Financial, and BMO.


Lastly, we would extend our sincere congratulations to all of our award winners for their exceptional contributions over the past year:


Art Wilson Award: Brian Krinock

Employee Campaign Coordinator of the Year: Catherine Wilkinson, Waterloo Region Police Service

Rising Star of the Year: Transchem Inc.

Small Business Support: Township of North Dumfries

Joint Union-Management Campaign: Energy+ Inc. and Members of IBEW Local 636

Partner Agency Campaign of the Year: Preston Heights Community Group

Workplace Campaign of the Year (<100 employees): Clarion Medical Technologies

Workplace Campaign of the Year (>100 employees): COM DEV & exactEarth


Outstanding Youth Volunteer: Tiana Thomas, St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School

Outstanding Older Adult Volunteer: Nancy Van Der Wegen, CNIB

Outstanding Volunteer Engagement: Emily Jaarsma, Greenway-Chaplin Community Centre

Outstanding Volunteer Leadership in the area of helping people move from poverty to possibility: Homelessness Everywhere Lacking Publicity (H.E.L.P.)

Outstanding Volunteer Leadership in the area of helping kids be all that they can be: Marty Lachance, Argus Residence for Young People

Outstanding Leadership in the area of building strong communities: Preston Heights Community Group’s Volunteer Program

Corporate Volunteerism – corporate partner: Clarion Medical Technologies

Corporate Volunteerism – agency partner: Fiddlesticks Community Centre


Outstanding Impact in the area of helping people move from poverty to possibility: Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank

Outstanding Impact in the area of helping kids be all that they can be: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region, In-School Mentoring Program

Outstanding Impact in the area of building strong communities: Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries

Bridge Builder Award: Argus Residence for Young People, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region, John Howard Society Waterloo-Wellington, Kinbridge Community Association, Lutherwood, Chaplin Family YMCA, and YWCA Cambridge

Community Awareness Builder: Child Witness Centre

Telling the Story of Impact: Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region

Please click here for all our photos from the event: