BY: Natalie Miller

A local Community Living association has collected two nationwide awards that will provide a $10,000 boost to a housing campaign for people who have intellectual disabilities.

Community Living Campbellford-Brighton shared two Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services with the Calgary chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. The organizations tied in the categories of service delivery for people with disabilities and shared the $20,000 William H. Donner Award for Excellence, which is awarded to the highest performer overall.

A thrilled Chris Grayson, executive director of Community Living Campbellford-Brighton, staff, self-advocates and a local MPP took in the victory yesterday afternoon.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” says Chris.

“You’re going up against some of the best in the country. It is humbling.”

Chris says being honoured with the award for overall excellence was “a shock. The competition is so intense.”

Winners of the eight annual Donner Awards were announced at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The awards were created in 1998 to increase the profile of the non-profit sector and highlight exemplary non-profit management. They are administered on behalf of the Donner Canadian Foundation by the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank based in Vancouver.

Thirty-one non-profit organizations from across Canada were selected as finalists and 842 applications were received from 652 organizations across Canada. The award recipients were selected based on a ranking of their performance in 10 key areas, including management and governance, the use of staff and volunteers, innovation, program cost, and outcome monitoring.

At the presentation, $70,000 was handed out to winners and Community Living Campbellford-Brighton took home $12,500, its share of the winnings after being split with the MS society.

Chris says likely $10,000 will go towards a housing campaign the association is working on exploring living options for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Fraser Institute’s press release about the awards outlined Community Living’s ‘Family Home’ program, which “offers a community-based alternative to high-cost, segregated housing models such as group homes and other institutional settings. To provide this program, Community Living Campbellford/Brighton matches the skills and characteristics of volunteer home providers with the interests and needs of the people they will be supporting.”

This is the third win for Community Living Campbellford- Brighton in its category of services for people with disabilities and its second award for overall excellence.