#CBYA2019: Celebrating people & organizations who share local love


At the 19th annual Community Builder of the Year Awards Gala, United Way Ottawa honoured the achievements of seven individuals, organizations and agencies taking exceptional strides to improve lives, break down barriers and create opportunities for people in Ottawa.

Though they come from all walks of life, the recipients all had one very important thing in common—a local love that inspires them to make a difference in this wonderful city we call home.

More than 650 people, from all corners of the city, joined us to celebrate at the Shaw Centre.

The Trend-Arlington Community Association and West Carleton Disaster Relief were awarded the most prestigious award: the Community Builder of the Year award. In the immediate aftermath of the September 21, 2018 tornadoes, these groups emerged as trusted advocates for their communities as the response and recovery efforts unfolded. Both have become models for how a community can quickly organize to ensure residents are supported, connected, and cared for.

“One of the biggest things for me personally is how strong one or just a few voices can be, how much impact you can have,” said Angela Bernhardt of West Carleton Disaster Relief. “Something like this changes a community forever, and I think probably five months ago we saw that as a bad thing. As time progresses, as much as it’s been a slow rebuild, I truly believe that because of the connections the people made, the showing of strength, it will be forever changed for the better.”

During the event, Michael Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way Ottawa, called on attendees to seek out human connection with people in our city and to lift each other up.

“Every year I cherish this evening,” said Michael Allen. “The Community Builder of the Year Awards Gala is not just a celebration of community, not just a recognition of some truly amazing people and organizations, but it is also an opportunity to connect and strengthen the fabric of our city — to bring people together in a shared pursuit of social justice. And that is the work of United Way, every day of the year.”

The seven individuals and organizations recognized for their outstanding contributions were:

United Way Canada also recognized federal employees and Costco with “Thanks a Million” awards. Every year, the award is given to organizations that have raised $1 million or more in support of United Way’s in communities from coast to coast.

Together, attendees of the event also raised more than $8,000 for OrKidstra – a local agency that empowers kids in underserved neighbourhoods of Ottawa with the power of music. Scotiabank generously pitched in $3,000 to start off the fundraiser to inspire generosity throughout the evening.

A photo of an orchestra on stage at the CBYA Gala.



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